With Diwali around the corner and pollution levels expected to shoot up after the festivities, air quality of Haryana’s 11 cities has deteriorated with incidents of farm fires continuing unabated, as the state reported 122 cases of stubble burning on Saturday.
As per the air quality bulletin of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the air quality of Dharuhera and at one of the four locations in Faridabad and Gurugram was flashed as ‘very poor’ with the air quality index (AQI) measured above 300.
Air quality of Ambala (267), Bahadurgarh (276), Ballabhgarh (238), Charkhi Dadri (225), Fatehabad (220), Jind (257), Kaithal (204), Manesar (273) and Hisar (252) was categorised as ‘poor’.
The air quality of Yamunanagar (176), Sonepat (181), Sirsa (141), Rohtak (176), Panipat (197), Palwal (151), Kurukshetra (163), Karnal (180), Bhiwani (195) was recorded as ‘moderate’. Panchkula is the only city in the state which has ‘satisfactory’ air quality.
According to the CPCB, AQI between 0 and 50 is considered as good, 51 and 100 as satisfactory, 101 and 200 as moderate, 201 and 300 as poor, 301 and 400 as very poor, and above 400 is severe.
As per the health experts, very poor quality of air causes respiratory illness on prolonged exposure and poor air quality causes breathing discomfort to most people on prolonged exposure.
Farm Fires continue
The deteriorating air quality is a cause of concern as officials monitoring air pollution expressed strong possibility that it may get worse further in the coming week, especially after Diwali on October 24.
The air quality of most Haryana cities plunged following a jump in the incidents of stubble burning incidents as the total cases of stubble burning reached to 893.
As per the Haryana Space Applications Centre (HARSAC), the state recorded 122 fresh cases of farm fires on Saturday with the highest 31 incidents reported in Kaithal district followed by 24 in Kurukshetra, 16 in Fatehabad, 15 in Jind, 14 in Karnal, 7 in Ambala, 6 in Yamunanager and 4 in Hisar.
The officials of Haryana State Agriculture Department said that they were very actively working to put a check on farm fires as the state has reported around 41% decline in stubble burning cases as compared to last year. The state reported 1,508 cases of farm fires till October 22 during the last Kharif harvesting season.
Hardeep Singh, director general, Haryana agriculture and farmers’ welfare department said that the department is very strict about bringing a stop to farm fires in the state.
“Even today, 122 events were reported against previous year’s 140 on the same day,” he said.
On Friday, the state chief secretary held a video conference with the deputy commissioners, asking them to take required steps to ensure that incidents of farm fires be reduced by 50% as compared to last year by the end of this season.