To the dwellers across North India, autumn onset brings some respite, at least psychologically, as we shun the sweltering sun and scorching heat of May and June and intense humidity associated with the following rainy season. Besides, such is largely the festive season too, as a handful of prime festivals are lined up, such as Dussehra, Karwa Chauth, Eid E Milad, Guru Purub, Christmas but the biggest of all from Indian perspective is Diwali, but this time around, the festival of lights is going to be a bit different one, owing to Covid 19 outbreak which is still unchecked and sluggish economy as a result of this.
The existing climate scenario is pretty worrisome for Delhiites, as our 3 neighbouring states, namely Punjab, UP and Haryana resort to massive stubble burning in recent days, which has pushed the PM2.5 load upwards, say about 40% increase and this is the highest recorded ever. On Sunday, i.e. Nov 1st, satellite thermal imaging captured over 6K fire spots and in coming days, as a result, the air quality may further go down. Besides, Delhi stands in the direction of north westerly winds which fly-push the pollutants (as tiny particles) from states lying north-westerly, which is exactly where blazing farms are situated at, in addition to cold breeze from Himalaya, this is what is read and analyzed by system of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, installed at Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.
Discussing the issue with farmers, they ask for 10 more days to bear with the fire until the kharif crop harvesting nears completion.
As for the ventilation index, the needle swayed to 1000m2/s just a couple of days back on Nov 01st, Sunday. The ventilation index is actual calculation of height and the wind speed and reflects atmosphere’s innate strength to manage and diffuse contaminants. As such, any ventilation index lying lower to 2350 sq meters is usually termed as below par and mixing height defines the actual altitude at which pollutants get mingled in the air.
Discussing the unusual intensity of farm fires, experts believe it might also be due to their frenzied state of mind, over recently introduced farm bills.
Our poor city Delhi’s air quality index (AQI) stood at 370 at 3PM on Sunday Nov 01st, and as per reports, Punjab, UP, Haryana and now even MP has sneaked into state with flames too affecting our city.
In a bid to choke the menace of air pollution, the Delhi government has made it loud and clear that green cracker burning could take place only at 824 spots which are designated across Delhi city.
824 Spots Listed By Delhi Government To Burn Crackers:
As the festival of lights Diwali is just around the corner but then, as WHO declared our city to be the most polluted in the world long time ago and as air pollution levels continue to soar higher and higher, alongside Covid 19 spread which doesn’t seem to narrow down, Delhi government declared 824 places across the city where commoners are permitted to burn green crackers.
Violation of rule may result in a heavy fine of Rs.1 hundred thousand. Timing is also set to be between 8PM to 10PM.
Such places are sprawling parks, large plots, school playgrounds and other such open spaces comprising all 272 wards of our city. However, as of today, i.e. Nov 03rd, a awareness drive is started by Delhi Government to cajole people to purge the very idea of burning crackers from minds altogether this time. In an effort to implement the declaration on the ground, special teams of law enforcement have been set up who will keep vigil on the strength of people assembling in open spaces and also to make sure that burning crackers doesn’t take place in lanes, streets or parking spaces in residential areas.
Mr. B.s Vohra, president of East Delhi Welfare Association’s front, revealed, ”We shall be asking members to celebrate Diwali without fire crackers this year. We have already started campaigns through social media platforms. The initiative on part of the government to identify locations for community celebrations reflect good intent, but it can’t be said how much it can actually persuade people. We need better awareness campaigns and stricter enforcement of existing norms”.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Eish Sehgal, supported the idea by saying, “The police will patrol the residential areas during Diwali to ensure that prescribed green crackers are burnt during stipulated time. Violators will be booked under relevant provisions of law depending on the nature of violation.
Government, acting as per Supreme Court guidelines, has allowed the manufacturing and sale of green crackers only, which have minimal polluting elements than the traditional ones and are less noisy too. Conversely, in past two years and despite such bans, air pollution rose to killing levels. Let’s see, what gets unfolded this time.