Govt blames fireworks, stubble burning, weather for bad air

New Delhi: Stubble being burned at an agricultural field on the outskirts of New Delhi on Oct 16, 2019. The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government has been blaming the severe air pollution in Delhi on these stubble burning activity. Since the past one week, the air quality of the national capital has seen constantly decreasing. The pollution levels in Delhi was found to be two times higher than the safe levels at noon on Wednesday. The air quality index (AQI) was 309. (Photo: IANS)

The number of ‘good’ to ‘moderate’ days increased to 175 in 2019 against 157 in 2018, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Monday during the hearing on air pollution crisis in the Delhi-NCR.

The counsel for the Centre submitted that in reference to the overall air quality status of Delhi (2018-2019), there had been an improvement in air quality in 2019 (from January up to November 2) against 2018. “Correspondingly, the number of ‘poor’ to ‘severe’ days declined to 131 against 149 in 2018”, said the Centre in its affidavit.

According to the Centre, the bursting of firecrackers during Diwali, stubble burning and adverse meteorology conditions exacerbated the pollution level in Delhi-NCR.

The air quality on the October 30 night, when the air quality index (AQI) reached the severe category, continued to deteriorate up to the November 2 morning.

Explaining the bad air quality, the Centre said it improved till November 2 evening, but high winds around 5 p.m. kicked up local dust, which got suspended in the moist air in north-west of Delhi.

High relative humidity due to light scattered rain led to secondary aerosol formation, causing spurt in particulate matter levels and air quality on November 3 was recorded in the severe+ category, the affidavit aid.

The Centre submitted that the Environment Ministry and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had been monitoring the air quality trends and also tracking actions to be taken by various government and private agencies.

The hearing will continue on November 6.