Delhi and its neighboring areas have been engulfed in a persistent haze, with air quality deteriorating to “very poor” levels for the fourth consecutive day. Vehicular emissions (11-16%) and stubble burning (7-16%) are identified as the primary contributors to the city’s deteriorating air quality.
According to a numerical model-based system developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, pollution sources in Gautam Budh Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, account for up to 14% of Delhi’s air pollution.
The city’s 24-hour average Air Quality Index (AQI) has reached 359, the highest this season. It was 347 on Monday, 325 on Sunday, 304 on Saturday, and 261 on Friday.
The Centre’s Air Quality Early Warning System predicts that Delhi’s air quality will remain “very poor” for the coming days. Unfavorable meteorological conditions, local pollution sources, and stubble burning incidents contribute to the deterioration of air quality during the winter.
To address the issue, the Centre has mandated that only electric, CNG, and BS VI-compliant diesel buses operate between Delhi and cities in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan within the National Capital Region.
Despite efforts to reduce stubble burning, it remains a significant factor in air pollution during the peak pollution season from November 1 to November 15. The Punjab government aims to reduce farm fires by 50% this winter season.
Delhi’s government has launched a 15-point action plan to mitigate air pollution during the winter, with a focus on addressing dust pollution, vehicular emissions, and open burning of garbage.
Delhi has faced its worst air quality in recent years, primarily due to unfavorable meteorological conditions and a lack of rainfall in October. These factors, combined with increased emissions from firecrackers and stubble burning, have exacerbated the problem.
The region’s cumulative farm fires have reduced significantly this year, but air quality remains a critical concern for Delhi’s residents.