NEW DELHI: The stubble plume from north-west regions has become one of the significant factors in deteriorating air quality in Delhi and adjoining areas. According to SAFAR, the effective stubble fire counts of Haryana and Punjab have increased from 1654 to 2577 during the past 24 hours after showing a significant dip on October 27. It is to be noted that an increased stubble fire count alone won't affect the air quality in Delhi unless meteorological conditions (in particular wind direction towards Delhi and its speed along with ventilation potential locally) are favorable for intrusion. On Tuesday, US-based space agency NASA shared some pictures showing the rise in stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana.
SAFAR said in a bulletin that transport level wind direction is northwesterly and hence favourable for plume transport. SAFAR added that the stubble share may touch this year's peak value (~29%) on October 30 9Wednesday). The Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi is predicted to remain in higher-end of very poor category for the next two days with few touching higher levels. An increase in boundary layer wind speed is expected by November 1, which may improve Delhi's AQI. The air quality in the cities here remains under 'very poor' to 'hazardous' category even after the cracker burning in the festival of Diwali was reduced compared to the last five years.
The AQI as recorded at 4 pm on Tuesday was 446 in Ghaziabad, 439 in Noida, 428 in Greater Noida, 424 in Moradabad and 415 in Panipat. The air quality index above 300 is marked under the hazardous category. The highest AQI recorded after Diwali in Delhi was 740 at the University of Delhi area.
A blanket of smog engulfed Delhi on Tuesday causing suffocation to the people especially in areas like Rajpath, Raisina Hill, India Gate, ITO and Tilak Marg. On Monday, the overall air quality of Delhi touched the `severe` category.