Several districts in Punjab and Haryana reported air quality indices in the “severe” and “very poor” categories on Wednesday even as the number of stubble-burning incidents dropped in the two agrarian states over the past few days.
Haryana’s Hisar and Bhiwani reported the worst air quality in the two states as their AQIs stood at 470 each, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said.
Faridabad had an AQI of 449, followed by Gurugram (446), Jind (445), Fatehabad (430), Sirsa (415), Rohtak (412) and Panipat (408). Kaithal (313), Karnal (316) and Kurukshetra (321) also choked on “very poor” air.
An AQI between 0-50 is considered “good”, 51-100 “satisfactory”, 101-200 “moderate”, 201-300 “poor”, 301-400 “very poor”, and 401-500 “severe”. Above 500 is “severe-plus or emergency” category.
The neighbouring Punjab also witnessed air quality in “very poor” and “poor” categories. Amritsar’s AQI was at 362, followed by Bathinda (333), Patiala (285) and Jalandhar (276), the CPCB said.
Chandigarh, the joint capital of the two states, recorded an AQI of 242.
According to Chandigarh meteorological department director Surinder Paul, due to the development of high pressure area in the region and absence of vertical movement of air, winds have become static, causing hazy weather condition.
“This weather condition is likely to improve after November 15,” he further said.
The number of incidents of farm fire, considered a major reason for the pollution in the state and neighbouring areas including New Delhi, dropped significantly in Punjab and Haryana.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, 794 and 529 incidents of farm fires were reported in Punjab, with Sangrur recording maximum cases, officials said, adding that more than 48,000 incidents of stubble-burning had been reported in the state so far.
Only five fire incidents were captured by Punjab Remote Sensing Centre on Wednesday because of dense cloud over Punjab, an official said, adding that on the same day in 2017 and 2018, the number of fire incidents were 227 and 1,506 respectively.
The total farm fire incidents since September 23 were 48,689 as against 42,308 and 44,845 in corresponding period of 2017 and 2018, official added.
An official of the Haryana Pollution Control Board said that some incidents of stubble-burning were reported on Wednesday.
However, the exact data was still being tabulated, he said.
Haryana reported a total of 6,099 incidents of farm fires this season so far, he further said.