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Delhi’s AQI Hits ‘Very Poor’ as Stubble Burning Raises Concerns

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As the overall air quality index (AQI) in Delhi dipped into the ‘very poor’ category, alarming visuals of stubble burning in Haryana’s Karnal have emerged. Stubble burning, a practice often linked to deteriorating air quality, has raised significant concerns.

A total of 48 cases of stubble burning have been reported in Haryana this season. In response, the state’s Agriculture Department has imposed a fine of Rs 53,000 on farmers caught burning crop residues.

Farmers, compelled by time constraints for sowing the next crop, lamented the necessity of burning stubble. One farmer shared, “We are forced to set fire to the straw as we have to sow the next crop, we are getting late in it. We also understand that burning stubble causes many problems.”

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar emphasized their commitment to combating stubble burning, stating, “There is no reason to burn stubble, but if people still don’t understand, we will be strict with them. We will collect information on such farmers, speak with them, and make them understand. If they still don’t comply, we will take strict measures.”

On 22nd Oct, Delhi’s AQI stood at 306, indicating ‘very poor’ air quality. In Gurugram, the AQI was in the ‘Poor’ category at 283, while Noida faced ‘Very Poor’ air quality with an AQI of 308. According to SAFAR, the AQI around Delhi University was 330, indicating extremely poor air quality during lunchtime. At Indira Gandhi International Airport Terminal T3, the AQI stood at 313, compared to 276 in the morning.

In the Delhi-NCR region, the air quality was recorded as ‘Very Poor’ on the 23rd morning, with an AQI of 322 in Noida, as per SAFAR-India.

Delhi’s Environment Minister, Gopal Rai, highlighted the critical nature of the next 10 to 15 days due to Diwali, stubble burning, and Dussehra. He emphasized that controlling sources of pollution is essential and scheduled a meeting to address the issue.

Currently, the overall air quality in the national capital remains in the ‘very poor’ category, with an AQI of 306, as reported by SAFAR data at 8:00 a.m. In contrast, the current air quality in Mumbai falls under the ‘moderate’ category, with an AQI of 127. BMC has also introduced measures to combat worsening air pollution. In Delhi, GRAP-II has been imposed, and Delhi’s Environment Minister, Gopal Rai, is convening a meeting with officials to address the ongoing air quality concerns.

Air Quality Index (AQI) categories include ‘good’ (0-50), ‘satisfactory’ (51-100), ‘moderate’ (101-200), ‘poor’ (201-300), ‘very poor’ (301-400), and ‘severe’ (401-500). An AQI exceeding 500 falls into the ‘severe plus’ category, signaling a critical level of pollution.

Understanding the Stubble Burning Crisis
The onset of winter in northern India often coincides with the burning of crop residues, a practice known as stubble burning. While it is a time-honored method for clearing fields quickly, it has dire consequences for air quality. The smog that envelops Delhi and surrounding regions during this season is a stark reminder of the ecological challenges posed by stubble burning.

This year, Haryana has reported 48 cases of stubble burning, resulting in fines imposed by the state’s Agriculture Department. Farmers, caught between the need to prepare their fields for the next crop and the awareness of environmental repercussions, find themselves in a difficult situation.

Haryana’s Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar, emphasized that there is no justification for this practice. He called for strict measures to curb stubble burning and encouraged dialogue with farmers to make them aware of the environmental consequences.

The current overall air quality in the national capital remains in the ‘very poor’ category, with an AQI of 306. In contrast, Mumbai currently enjoys ‘moderate’ air quality, with an AQI of 127. In response to the deteriorating air quality, BMC has introduced measures to combat air pollution. In Delhi, GRAP-II has been imposed, and officials are meeting to devise strategies to address the ongoing air quality challenges.

The situation necessitates comprehensive measures to combat air pollution and improve the well-being of residents in the Delhi-NCR region. Collaboration between stakeholders and a heightened sense of environmental responsibility is crucial to addressing this pressing issue.

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