New Delhi: Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that 95 per cent of Delhi’s present air pollution was because of local sources, triggering a debate on whether the deterioration in air quality could be an indirect consequence of Covid-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has resulted in reduction in use of public transport, leading to more use of personal vehicles in the national capital, like elsewhere in the country. More vehicles on road mean more emissions and with poor dispersal, it leads to higher ambient air pollution levels.
The national capital’s air is deteriorating rapidly and is just on the threshold of the ‘very poor’ red-alert category.
According to data compiled by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), a comparison of this October’s air quality with last year’s shows that the air quality entered the ‘poor’ category on 7 October, three days ahead of last year. Also, there has not been a single ‘satisfactory’ day this month, unlike last year, when the air quality was much better.
NASA’s satellite imagery showed a large cluster of farm fires near Amritsar, Patiala, Tarn Taran, and Firozpur in Punjab, and Ambala and Rajpura in Haryana.
The Ministry of Earth Sciences’ Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi said the wind direction was northwesterly on Friday, which is favourable for transport of pollutants from farm fires.