The toxic smog engulfing New Delhi deepened on Thursday as farm fires raged in nearby fields despite a court-ordered ban, making India’s capital once again the world’s most polluted city.
Pollution levels have risen since earlier this week after a brief respite and further mitigation measures are being discussed, but a plan to rain through cloud seeding to combat smog has been postponed due to adverse weather conditions.
The city topped a real-time list of the world’s most polluted cities on Thursday, with an air quality index of 509 around midday, according to Swiss group IQAir which categorized the air quality as “dangerous”.
A northwesterly wind blowing over the city carries smoke from farm fires in nearby fields, and the wind speed inside Delhi is light and unfavorable for dispersal of pollutants, a weather department official said on condition of anonymity.
There have been more than 2,500 farm fires in Punjab state, north of Delhi, as farmers defied a Supreme Court-ordered ban on burning crop residues and local police warned of legal action against them, the Indian Express newspaper reported.
Also Read: Three Indian cities among 10 most polluted in the world after Diwali
Air quality in the plains of northern India deteriorates every winter, when cold air traps emissions from multiple sources, including vehicles, industries, construction dust and burning agricultural waste.
Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai told news agency ANI that the authorities were trying to enforce the laws in a better way and that a meeting would be held later in the day to discuss further measures.
So far, the city has banned all construction, closed schools to protect children, stopped gasoline and diesel trucks from entering the city, and deployed vehicles to spray water into the air to control pollution.
The lack of cloud cover over the city pushed back the cloud-building plan, which was originally planned for around Nov. 20, said Manindra Agrawal, a scientist at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, who is leading the test.
“Last week the radars were showing cloud cover around that time and now they’re not indicating that anymore,” Agrawal said. Reuters by phone.
a href=”https://tribune.com.pk/story/2446718/new-delhi-smog-grows-more-intense-as-farm-fires-rage”>Source link