AQI in Delhi at Season’s worst ahead of Diwali

Three main causes contribute to the pollution levels in Delhi. They are- stubble burning in the neighboring states, Delhi's own pollution, and migration from other cities.

Delhi is the epicenter of pollution and has crowed itself with the title of being the “most polluted” city on Earth. The pollution in Delhi has dropped to the severe category for the last three years with citizens getting no respite from it.

Three main causes contribute to the pollution levels in Delhi. They are- stubble burning in the neighboring states, Delhi’s own pollution, and migration from other cities.

Stubble burning from neighboring states is one of the major causes of pollution every year in Delhi. Farmers in Punjab, Haryana, and Western UP burn their stubble of rice to facilitate wheat cultivation and to regain the lost nutrients of the soil. Let us now analyze why they don’t stop stubble burning even after its hazardous impact. Stubble burning is a cheap technique to clear the fields and the ruling governments in these states do not take measures to stop stubble burning either do they provide any anti-pollution remedy to the farmers. Without the government’s support, the farmers are not ready to burn a hole in their pockets so that the Delhizens can breathe fresh air.

The second major factor contributing to Delhi’s pollution is vehicular emissions, construction activities, and illegal industrial activities. The ban on construction activities by the Hon’ble Supreme Court has irked the builders and hence they try to exploit every loophole to avoid the ban for their benefits.

The third major cause of Delhi’s pollution is its mixed crowd of rural and urban populations and the economic divide between them. Most of them are not able to afford gas stoves and connections and hence resort to wood and coal burning for cooking purposes. The cold current hence stabilizes and is slow thus making the pollution hang in the air for a longer time.

This year the Delhi folks have to fight pollution in the wake of the Global Pandemic. The cases are spiking three times more than the national rate and it can safely be blamed on the festive season as well as rising pollution in the city. The national capital recorded 7,745 new infections in the last 24 hours. The positivity rate has increased to 15.26 percent amid the festive season and the worsening pollution levels in the national capital.

With Diwali around the corner, it is feared that the AQI will be hovering in the severe category. Every year the Supreme Court and NGT ban the firecrackers and every year the Delhizens ignore this order in the year along with the firecrackers. After some days the Supreme Court, Government as well as the citizens forget about it.

The pollution problems in Delhi demand strong action from the Government and citizens’ resistance towards the bursting of fire-crackers. This year the residents have reported some improvement due to the efforts of the Kejriwal Government but a lot remains to be done to curb the rising pollution levels in the city every year.

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Pragya Mishra

Senior columnist with interest in economy and government policies.

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