Delhi’s poor air quality not Punjab’s fault: PAU study


According to a study by the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Delhi’s poor air quality index (AQI) during the winter months is not due to stubble burning in Punjab, but to the accumulation of its own pollutants.

The study was conducted by the head of the PAU’s Climate Change and Agricultural Meteorology Department, Pavneet Kaur Kingra, and meteorologists Harleen Kaur and Sukhjeet Kaur, in which they looked at the nation’s capital’s monthly AQI. over the past three years.

“The data showed that Delhi’s pollution levels remained significantly high throughout the year, with the exception of the monsoon months of July and August, when air pollutants subsided due to rain.” , said Kingra. She, however, acknowledged that stubble burning is degrading the air quality in Punjab and causing problems for residents here.

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Kingra cited wind direction and speed to further support the argument. She said the wind is blowing from the southeast, i.e. from the side of Delhi towards Punjab. “So there is no possibility of pollutants moving Punjab towards Delhi. The wind speed is also low, about 6 km per hour, during this period in the region, which is not enough to push the pollutants “, she explained.

Explaining the reasons for the high levels of pollution during the winter months in Delhi, Kingra said, “The lowest AQI is observed during the winter months of November to January. This is mainly due to the festivities and stable weather conditions, which cause pollutants to accumulate and lock in the air until January and February.

The researchers also pointed out that crop residues are also burned during the wheat harvest season, in April and May, but this does not seem to have an effect on Delhi’s AQI, which according to the data shows a improvement from January to August.

This indicates that the degradation of air quality in Delhi from November to January is not due to the movement of pollutants and smoke from Punjab, but to the blockage and accumulation of its own pollutants, further triggered by festivals in stable weather conditions.

“Delhi has its own sources of pollution”

“There is no denying the fact that Delhi has its own sources of pollution, in the form of vehicles/large population and industrial processes etc. During the monsoon, the AQI improves as these pollutants mix/deposit with the rainwater. With the peak of the monsoon, these pollutants continue to accumulate in the atmosphere under stable winter conditions until January. Due to which we are witnessing foggy conditions in the National Capital Region,” Kingra said.

When the temperature begins to rise in February and March, pollutants begin to disperse due to air movement and therefore air quality begins to improve.

A similar study was conducted by former department head Prabhjyot Kaur by analyzing three-year data from 2017 to 2019.

This study also revealed that thatch burning in Punjab is suffocating the inhabitants, but is not the cause of the pollution in the NCR.

Another study, conducted jointly by the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Mohali and the Punjab Pollution Control Board, concluded that a significant contribution to Delhi’s air pollution came from the NCR or Uttar. Pradesh.


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