The Centre must hold an "emergency" meeting of states neighbouring Delhi to devise a mechanism to deal with crop residue burning due to which the city's air quality has deteriorated, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said on Sunday. The city's air quality index (AQI) stood at 437 in the severe category at 8 am on Sunday. It was 449 on Saturday.
Incidents of crop residue (parali) burning in other states and the air quality in Delhi are linked as deteriorating air quality figures show, Rai said at a press conference.
"There was also the effect of cracker bursting on Diwali but it's waning now. The effect of ‘parali’ burning, however, continues to worsen air quality in Delhi," he said.
Rai said he has written to the Union environment minister asking for an "emergency" meeting of states, including Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi to find a mechanism to address the perennial issue of crop residue burning and high level of air pollution in the national capital.
Crop residue burning in neighbouring states is responsible for worsening air quality in Delhi during winters, he added.
An AQI between zero and 50 is considered good, 51 and 100 satisfactory, 101 and 200 moderate, 201 and 300 poor, 301 and 400 very poor, and 401 and 500 severe.
Due to the rampant bursting of crackers on Thursday despite restrictions in place, the air quality in Delhi was the poorest in five years post the festival with rising in incidents of stubble burning in neighbouring states. The city's AQI slipped to the severe category on Thursday night.