Taking account of the poor air quality in the national capital IMD scientist VK Soni on Monday said that there will be some improvement in the air quality after the implementation of GRAP, but it would remain in “very poor” category until 26 October. Soni said “Yesterday it reached ‘very poor’ category. The AQI was at 313 but this time GRAP Stage 2 was implemented much earlier and because of that, I think there will be some improvement in air quality. Our forecast is that the Air Quality will remain in the ‘very poor’ category till 26 October.”
The IMD scientist further informed that the AQI is close to 300 on Monday and that there are hopes that the measures taken under GRAP 2 will benefit the air quality. Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) is a set of guidelines and measures implemented to combat air pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR) of India, which includes Delhi and its surrounding areas.
When the Air Quality Index of Delhi NCR ranges from 201 to 300, it will be termed “poor” and classified under Stage 1 restrictions. AQI levels between 301-400 is called “very poor” and falls under Stage 2. When AQI is 401-450 it is termed “severe” and falls under Stage 3. The overall air quality in the national capital on Monday morning was recorded in the “very poor category”, with the AQI at 306 against 302 recorded on Sunday afternoon, as per SAFAR-India.
On Sunday morning, the air quality was recorded in the “poor” category with an AQI of 266 against 173 recorded on Saturday. The Air Quality Index is a tool for effective communication of air quality status to people in terms that are easy to understand. There are six AQI categories, namely Good + Satisfactory, Moderately Polluted, Poor, Very Poor, and Severe. Each of these categories is decided based on the ambient concentration values of air pollutants and their likely health impacts (known as health breakpoints). According to the AQI scale, the air quality check between 0 and 50 is “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 450 “severe”.
Visuals from various locations across Noida showed a thick layer of smog surrounding parts of the city as the air quality stood in the “very poor: category. The AQI in Noida was recorded to be at 322, as per SAFAR-India. According to the latest data from the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the air quality around Delhi University was recorded at 330 (very poor) at noon, while IGI Terminal T3 in New Delhi was at 313 against 276 in the Sunday morning hours. According to the SAFAR, the air quality in Kartavya Path at India Gate was recorded at 266 on Sunday morning. Meanwhile, Noida recorded an AQI of 290 (poor) and Gurugram 152 (moderate). Anand Vihar breached the very poor category in New Delhi with an AQI of 345, IT0 with an AQI of 309, New Moti Bagh with an AQI of 360, Dwarka Sector-8 recorded an AQI of 313.
DECLINE IN STUBBLE BURNING?
Deputy Director of Agriculture, Dr Wazir Singh on Monday revealed that this year, only 48 cases of stubble burning have been registered in Karnal. This marks a substantial decrease from the previous year when about 140 cases were recorded. Singh expressed his satisfaction, highlighting the heightened awareness exhibited by both farmers and the department towards curbing stubble burning. He said, “So far 48 cases of stubble burning from Karnal have been registered, whereas last year around 140 cases were registered. This shows that farmers and the department have shown awareness regarding stubble burning.”
He further emphasized the ongoing efforts to combat this environmental concern, with multiple awareness programs currently in operation across the state. These initiatives aim to educate and encourage sustainable agricultural practices, ultimately contributing to a reduction in stubble-burning incidents. He further said that so far, a fine of 1,12,000 has been imposed on farmers in Karnal district in this matter.