Farm fire share in Delhi pollution 18% now | Delhi News


NEW DELHI: The contribution of stubble burning to PM 2.5 in Delhi’s air shot up to 18% on Friday from 6% on Thursday and just 1% on Wednesday. System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), which functions under the ministry of earth sciences, said the speed and direction of wind had become favourable for the transport of pollutants towards Delhi.
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On Wednesday, SAFAR had identified 740 fire counts across the northern plains while 583 counts were detected on Thursday. “Stubble burning fire counts were observed on Thursday around Haryana, Punjab and the neighbouring border regions with SAFAR’s synergised fire count estimated at 583. Transport wind direction is favourable and an increase in stubble contribution in PM2.5 is estimated,” said SAFAR on Friday.

Kuldeep Srivastava, scientist at India Meteorological Department and head of Regional Weather Forecasting Centre in Delhi said wind direction had shifted in the direction of north-west which was favouring transport of pollutants from Punjab and Haryana towards Delhi. “While wind speed locally is strong, the stubble burning component is also reaching Delhi,” he said.
Chandra Bhushan, CEO at iForest, says that studying the cumulative impact of stubble burning in Delhi’s air, and not just the daily concentration, is equally important. “While the daily load of stubble burning pollutants arriving in the capital is important, one needs to assess how much of it is staying on and is part of the background emissions. It may be that the daily contribution is 20% but if the wind speed is strong, it dissipates quickly. Similarly, a daily contribution of 4% may stay around longer if wind speed is low,” Bhushan said.
Meanwhile on Friday, The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) held a webinar on ‘Agricultural residue management and solutions to achieve better air quality’, with experts stating a combination of both in-situ and ex-situ techniques could bring a positive impact in the long run. Data shared by TERI showed farm fires were at their peak in 2016 in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh but the figure had almost halved in 2019 in all the three states.
Sunil Dhingra, senior fellow and associate director, renewable energy technology, at TERI said some progress has been made but it’s slow. “We should not only provide incentives to farmers to switch to other crops but also provide the farmers who do grow paddy a solution to this problem. If they are able to manage the stubble and collect it themselves, they should be able to get some economic value from it,” said Dhingra.

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