Delhi breathed a sigh of relief on Friday as rain in the National Capital Region swiftly improved air quality, dispelling the lingering haze of over 12 days.
In a related development, the Supreme Court said on Friday that FIRs against farmers are not a solution to stubble burning. Instead, it recommended withholding MSP from violators for a year. The court also urged State authorities to engage in dialogue with farmers and motivate them to abandon stubble burning.
Making it clear that the court wants to see the results, the SC said farm fires had to stop at any cost and there are long and short term measures for every emergency situation. “Carrot and stick policy is necessary for stopping farm fires,” it said.
Regarding the odd-even policy, the Supreme Court emphasised that the decision to implement the vehicle rationing scheme in Delhi rests with the City Government. The court criticised the Kejriwal Government for attempting to shift the burden onto the SC.
After Friday’s rainfall, the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi improved from 460 on Thursday to 279 at 4 pm, though it still falls within the poor category.
Favourable wind speeds facilitating pollutant dispersion are expected to contribute to further improvement. The AQI, an average of the past 24 hours, reflects this positive trend. On Friday morning, residents of Delhi and the NCR took to social media to share pictures of clear skies and express joy over the cleaner air.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the Safdarjung Observatory, Delhi’s primary weather station, recorded 5.8 mm of rainfall in the 24 hours ending at 8:30 pm on Friday, with an additional 2.2 mm between 8:30 am and 11:30 am.
“Rain activity will cease by today (Friday), and starting tomorrow, north-westerly winds will prevail for the next two to four days. As a result, Delhi’s AQI is projected to remain in the ‘moderate’ to ‘poor’ category. While there is some relief from air pollution, it may not be significant,” said Mahesh Palawat, Vice President (Meteorology and Climate Change) at SkyMet.
A dense blanket of toxic smog had enveloped Delhi and its neighboring regions for the past 10 days, making it challenging for people to breathe. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the air quality is expected to improve further due to favorable wind speeds facilitating the dispersion of pollutants.
Kuldeep Srivastava, a senior scientist at the IMD, mentioned that most parts of northwest India, including Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh, have experienced rainfall since Thursday night. Once the western disturbance passes, the wind speed is expected to increase to around 15 kilometres per hour on November 11. This increase in wind speed will aid in dispersing pollutants, said Srivastava.