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Supreme Court to hear Delhi government’s response on air pollution

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will on Saturday hear a plea concerning air pollution in Delhi; it had directed the Centre to take necessary steps to control pollution and sought a response from the Delhi government on steps taken by it.

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The Court had asked the state government to file an affidavit and give copies to the Centre, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab governments. The Court’s directions, on October 28, had come on a plea by 17-year-old Delhi student Aditya Dubey who alleged “non-seriousness” and “inaction” of the government on air pollution.
The Centre’s pollution control board on Friday ordered states and local bodies to be in “complete readiness” for emergency measures to tackle New Delhi’s worsening smog conditions due to a drop in temperature and wind speeds, according to news agency Reuters.

Over 4,000 farm fires, which accounted for 35 per cent of Delhi’s pollution on Friday, played a major role in pushing the 24-hour average Air Quality Index (AQI) to 471 by 4 pm, the worst this season so far. It was 411 on Thursday.

The national capital has recorded severe air quality on six of the last eight days after Diwali.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”.

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According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences’ air quality forecasting agency SAFAR, stubble burning has accounted for at least 25 per cent of Delhi’s PM2.5 pollution for nine straight days, starting November 4.

Gufran Beig, the founder project director of SAFAR, said stubble burning generally contributes to PM2.5 but this time its coarser particles in PM10 are also becoming a lead pollutant at several locations in Delhi.

“This is a new feature in the winter period. This is mainly because of the particle growth mechanism due to high humidity at night and increased humidity during the day probably due to water sprinkling which also increases the holding capacity of the air. Since the flow is regular many PM2.5 particles are growing towards PM10 (sic),” he said.

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