The national capital of India has been experiencing a spike in air pollution for a few weeks now. The major reason behind the alarming pollution levels in Delhi is the paddy straw burning in adjoining states. The air pollution situation is the worst in Noida which falls into the path of emissions being transported from stubble burning.
The share of stubble burning in Delhi’s PM 2.5 pollution jumped to 38% on November 3, which experts said was the reason behind the thick layer of pungent smog over the National Capital.
The increase in stubble burning has kicked off a political slugfest, with Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav on November 2 saying that there had been a 19% rise in farm fires over 2021 in Punjab and that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had turned the National Capital into a gas chamber.
The union minister also informed that last year, Punjab Government left Rs. 212 crores unspent. This year the government gave Rs. 280 Crore for residue management machines.
So about Rs. 492 crore was available but the state government chose to sit with the funds leaving the farmers with no choice and forcing helpless farmers to burn the crop residue.
The overall air quality in Delhi deteriorated to severe air quality on Thursday and Friday as the Air quality index (AQI) touched 700+. In areas like ITO, Anand vihar and narela crosses the severe category with AQI being 500+.
Stubble burning is still continuing in the neighbouring states and its pollutants are expected to go up in the upcoming days.
According to an analysis by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, people in the national capital breathe the worst air between November 1 and November 15 – the period when stubble burning peaks.
The city records an average PM2.5 concentration of 285 micrograms per cubic metre from November 1 to November 15. PM 2.5 level from 61 to 120 is considered “moderate to poor”, 121 to 250 is “very poor”, 251 to 350 is “severe” and more than 350 is “severe-plus”.
It is critically important to save yourself from the rising pollution and safeguard your family, especially people suffering from heart and lungs related issues along with minor kids.
As soon as one is exposed to pollution, they can experience irritation in the eyes, lightheadedness, headache, dizziness, skin irritation, cough and breathlessness.
Here is a few measures you can take on a personal level to prevent the side effects of alarming pollution in Delhi:
- When you are in a place that is smoky or smoggy, use N95 masks.
- Minimise physical activities during early morning and late evening hours.
- Use air purifiers.
- Stay indoors.
- Ventilate your homes in the late afternoon.