Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said there is a “very strong correlation” between stubble burning and pollution in north India, attributing the improvement in air quality in Delhi to fewer cases of farm fires.
“Very strong correlation can be seen between stubble burning and the spike in air pollution in North India. As soon as stubble burning began in the first week of Oct, the AQI started rising. Now that burning is coming to an end, air quality is also improving,” Kejriwal tweeted.
In another tweet, the chief minister said, “The stubble burning has stopped and with it, the air quality in Delhi has improved. A few people say that stubble burning contributes only 5 per cent to air pollution in Delhi. So with reduction of only 5 per cent, has the air quality index improved from over 500 to 200? Rather than doing politics on pollution, there is a need to address the issue together with good intentions”.
Senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Goel said measures taken by the Kejriwal government have failed to curb pollution. “Stubble has been burning for the last 30 years but why did the pollution go up during the last five years. The Supreme Court also said that the odd-even scheme did not have any impact on pollution,” he said on Sunday.
Data from Punjab and Haryana governments show that 352 cases of stubble burning were reported from Punjab, and 102 from Haryana on Sunday. The air quality index (AQI) in Delhi on Sunday was 215.
“The peak pollution episode witnessed over the past week is a cyclical trend that will keep coming during winter,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, research and advocacy, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).“While air quality has improved for now, pollution forecasting agencies have predicted another peak episode with the occurrence of fog and low visibility next week. This trend will keep repeating even without the contribution from stubble burning unless there is a reduction in the base pollution load in Delhi and meteorology is in favour,” she added.
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