Delhi's air quality remains 'poor' at 159 with PM 2.5 4.8 times higher than WHO's threshold
The current concentration of PM2.5 in Delhi stands at 72 µg/m³, with PM10 at 161 µg/m³ with most of the areas in Delhi-NCR recording AQI of over 160.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital has been recorded at 159, categorising it as 'poor' as of Thursday morning, with most areas in the Delhi-NCR region recording an AQI of over 160.
The current concentration of PM2.5 (particulate matter) in Delhi stands at 72 µg/m³, with PM10 at 161 µg/m³, according to aqi.in, a website that gives the data on real-time air quality index. This PM2.5 level is 4.8 times higher than the 24-hour air quality guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). The health body suggests a threshold concentration of 15 µg/m³ for PM2.5 in a 24-hour mean. The website's air quality forecast for Delhi indicates that it will improve over the next three days with an AQI of 140 on Friday, 131 on Saturday, and 115 on Sunday.
The best air quality index in the past 24 hours was recorded at 115 at 5.00 pm.
Officials from the pollution control board have noted that the Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) period commenced on October 1. The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has directed various agencies to implement mitigation measures to combat air pollution, based on Delhi's air quality index (AQI).
According to GRAP, the adverse air quality is categorised into four different stages: stage 1 or 'poor' when the AQI ranges from 201-300, stage 2 or 'very poor' when AQI falls between 301-400, stage 3 or 'severe' when AQI ranges from 401-450, and stage 4 or 'severe+' when the AQI surpasses 450.
Check AQI in different parts of Delhi-NCR
650 incidents of stubble burning reported so far
Punjab has reported over 650 instances of stubble burning as on Wednesday starting from September 15, news agency PTI reported citing data from the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre based in Ludhiana.
Specifically, on Wednesday, the state experienced 95 instances of stubble burning, a notable increase compared to 23 and 65 farm fires on the same day in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
The practice of burning paddy straw in Punjab and Haryana has been identified as a significant contributor to the concerning rise in air pollution levels in the Delhi-NCR region during October and November.
In response to this issue, the state's agriculture department has committed to providing 24,000 crop residue management machines to curb stubble burning. These machines include Super SMS, happy seeder, paddy straw chopper, mulcher, smart seeder, zero-till drill, surface seeder, super seeder, crop reaper, and shrub master for in-situ management, as well as baler and straw rake for ex-situ management of paddy residue.
With a budget of ₹350 crore, the agriculture department aims to eliminate stubble burning incidents in districts like Pathankot, Hoshiarpur, Rupnagar, Mohali, SBS Nagar, and Malerkotla.