Delhi blanketed in smog despite drop in stubble burning

AFP
December 06, 2022

NEW DELHI: New Delhi was engulfed in thick smog early on Monday as cooler weather exacerbated pollution, even though government data showed that crop residue burning in neighbouring states had...

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NEW DELHI: New Delhi was engulfed in thick smog early on Monday as cooler weather exacerbated pollution, even though government data showed that crop residue burning in neighbouring states had dropped significantly.

Residents of New Delhi and its suburbs endure poor air every winter as colder, heavier air traps construction dust, vehicle emissions and smoke from the burning of crop stubble in the nearby states of Punjab and Haryana.

However, paddy crop residue burning has reduced by 31 per cent in the period from Sept 15 till Nov 30 this year, the government said in a statement on Monday. The total number of farm fires in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi’s suburbs fell to 53,792, owing to improved machinery and bio-decomposers to destroy crop residue, according to government data. Air pollution has been linked to heart diseases, a higher risk of stroke and lung cancer, and in 2019 was the leading cause of death in India, according to government data.

It happens every winter in India’s sprawling capital: The cold air arrives, trapping the dust and other pollutants emitted by its 20 million residents. The result? A filthy, choking haze that engulfs the city and halts daily life. The WHO estimates that millions die annually due to air pollution, and recognizes it as the world’s largest environmental health threat. IQAir, a Swiss air quality company, ranked New Delhi as the most polluted capital in 2021.



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