Delhi’s yearly night­mare be­gins as air qual­ity dips

Weather, stub­ble burn­ing are con­tribut­ing to mess

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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