Smog might worsen in Delhi-NCR coming days attributable to climate situations: Consultants

Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 10

While directions of the NGT and the newly-appointed CAQM are expected to bring some relief to Delhi-NCR residents struggling with toxic smog, meteorologists are not expecting any immediate help from the weather conditions either in the form of strong winds or rains in the next seven to 10 days. Rather, they fear the situation may worsen with winds changing direction in the next couple of days.

Mahesh Palawat from Skymet says “winds will remain light and calm for next two to three days. The first strong Western Disturbance is expected around November 12. This will lead to the formation of a cyclonic circulation over Northern plains (Punjab and Haryana) and change in direction of winds from Northwest to Southeast, adding more humidity in the air and existing smog-conducive factors like light winds and pollutants, ” he says.

There is a possibility of rain in Delhi-NCR around November 15 and 16.

“However, only if rains are moderate to intense, pollutants will be washed away, light rains will add to factors building pollution. Besides adjoining States also have to impose ban strongly”, he says

Deadly smog is the ritual Delhi-NCR runs every year after the withdrawal of Southwest Monsoon from the region. However, it is not as if the air is good in other parts of the year. Experts say that Delhi, and many other cities, have air with SPM many notches above accepted levels

So far as the yearly smog is concerned, experts say it is “complex issue” requiring a coordinated effort from all States throughout the year

Apart from usual suspects like the burning of biodegradable mass, for which not just Punjab, Haryana and their ‘parali’ is responsible, Delhi-NCR also contributes equally to this section. Besides air has no boundaries, so activity in one area can impact a far-off region due to wind conditions

Delhi-NCR has additional issues like the multi-storied and congested Delhi-NCR trapping every bit of pollution emerging from a combination of stubble burning and local factors like upla/biomass and waste burning, vehicular pollution and construction activities adding with the still/low wind conditions. This year temperature too dropped early adding to the build-up.

Amid rising Covid-19 cases and pollution levels, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) yesterday imposed a complete ban on the sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in the Delhi-NCR region from midnight till the end of the month (November 30)

In Delhi, State Environment Minister Gopal Rai said action will be taken against those not complying with the ban on firecrackers under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act which invites a jail term of up to six years and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh.

The newly-appointed Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in NCR and adjoining Areas stressed on the need to strictly enforce existing laws, rules, guidelines, directions and standard operating procedures to minimise air pollution on an emergency basis. There should be strict implementation of “extant rules, Courts and Tribunal orders regarding stubble burning and use of firecrackers,” it said, calling for active public participation and identifying 10 immediate measures, including restricting travel and work from home

The NGT also directed all states and union territories to initiate drives to contain air pollution from all sources in view of the potential of aggravation of Covid-19.

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