A thick blanket of smog shrouded parts of Delhi on Saturday morning, leading to a decreased visibility in the region. The noxious smog is said to be a result of raging farm fires and unfavourable weather deteriorating the air quality in the national capital. It was only yesterday that the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to ensure there is no smog in Delhi.
A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde observed that the pollution problem has to be dealt with by the executive as it has the power, money and resources for this. On Thursday, Centre appointed former Chief Secretary of Delhi MM Kutty as the chairperson of the Commission for Air Quality Management(AQM) in National Capital Region and adjoining areas.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the air quality on Friday remained "severe" in Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad, while it improved to reach the "very poor" category in Gurgaon in the National Capital Region (NCR). Concentration of major air pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 also remained high in the five neighbouring cities of Delhi. According to the index, 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'.
According to a central government air quality monitoring agency, the share of stubble burning in Delhi's pollution has risen to 42 per cent. Experts said raging farm fires and a fall in the wind speed and temperatures pushed air quality in Delhi-NCR to the worst levels in around a year.
The Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality monitor, SAFAR, said the farm fire count in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and neighbouring areas increased significantly and stood at 4,135 on Wednesday, the highest this season so far.
SAFAR said the boundary layer wind direction is northwesterly – favourable for the transport of pollutants from farm fires.
(With PTI inputs)