Delhi’s yearly nightmare begins as air quality dips
Weather, stubble burning are contributing to mess
particles that are roughly forty times finer than the average human hair, more than doubled in the last couple of days.
A key source of PM2.5 at this time of the year is the fires farmers in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana light to clear their fields of paddy residue after harvesting their paddy crop.
In the coming days, officials expect a combination of three factors to drastically worsen the pollution: wind speed is likely to remain low, local emissions are set to increase because of the festive rush and pollutants from more farm fires are expected to drift in, said D Saha, former head of CPCB’S air quality lab.
The other major pollutant, PM10, also rose to 289.7 micrograms/cubic meter – nearly thrice the 100 microgram/cubic meter level that is considered safe. On Thursday, the India Metrological Department (IMD’S) informed the CPCB that the wind direction will change to north-northwest from Friday onwards, meaning that pollutants will start drifting into the capital from Punjab, and even beyond, from Pakistan.