Delhi smog: Gulf storm played a bigger role than stubble burning

04:45 PM Nov 17, 2017 | Team Udayavani |

New Delhi: Besides stubble burning, a “multi-day dust storm” in Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia was the main cause of Delhi’s smog between November 6 and 14, according to a study by the System of Air Quality And Weather Forecasting And Research (under the Ministry of Earth Sciences) and India Meteorological Department (IMD).


While stubble burning was said to be a key cause for the toxic smog in the national capital, prompting a spat between Delhi government and governments of neighbouring states, a Centre-run monitoring agency said the particulates from the dust storm that entered the upper atmospheric layer of Delhi and the larger region also contributed to a spike in air pollution levels.

On November 8, the contribution of the dust storm was 40 per cent, eclipsing the role of emissions from stubble burning, which stood at 25 per cent, the Pune-based System of Air Quality And Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) said.

That was the day pollution levels peaked with PM2.5 concentration reaching 640 micrograms per cubic metre, according to the SAFAR scientific assessment report of the week-long pollution crisis accessed by PTI.

“Rest was made up of emissions from local sources such vehicular combustion. If external sources did not have any role, levels of PM2.5 during this period could have been around 200 micrograms per cubic metre,” the report has stated.


Uptick in air pollution levels prompted Aam Admi Party led Delhi government to impose a swries of emergency measures in the national capital such as a ban on the entry of trucks and construction activities yielded positive results, the agency said, putting the gains at around 15 per cent in terms of percentage.

PM2.5 are ultrafine particulates, up to 30 times finer than a width of a human hair, which can lodge deep in the lungs and enter the bloodstream, causing irreparable harm to living beings.


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