Satellite images suggest that Delhi air pollution might spread to other parts of India

Hyderabad: Days after the worst Air Quality Index for Delhi became a national phenomenon, satellite images suggest that most of India are likely to be hit by air pollution. According to the Himawari Satellite images, not just Delhi, but many parts of northern India are affected by stubble burning in Northern states.

The air quality was ten times above the World Health Organisation standards for 24 hours in Delhi for a week. Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), a policy research institute, said in their study report, “Parts of India including the Indo-Gangetic plain is suffering the same fate of air pollution. On November 1, Lucknow recorded the worst air quality in three years.”

Though Indo-Gangetic belt seems worst affected, several locations across the country reported unhealthy to very unhealthy and hazardous air quality.

Air Pollution in india

Pradeep Goud Macharla, an earth observer, suggested, “Based on the latest wind model, entire east coast and south will continue to receive polluted air from Northern India.” Here too, stubble burning is said to be the cause of increased PM 2.5 levels besides local pollution.

CEEW added in their report, “While we need to work with farmers, we also need to focus on sources within Delhi. Air quality was poor even before stubble burning started. So, you can’t just blame the farmers.”

TamilNadu Weatherman (@praddy06), a Chennai-based satellite enthusiast, tweeted, “The hazy and polluted air which is choking Delhi and North India for the last one week will be pushed towards entire East coast of India including Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu next week.”

The Delhi air problem seems to have found national attention, among both activists and others, as the scenario point towards a familiar pattern in many metro cities. Concerned citizens took to social media to voice their concerns on the overall health crisis in the national capital.

SC takes up the issue of pollution

Meanwhile, a Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta took the issue of pollution in Delhi and other parts of the country. The apex court held a hearing today on the topic of air pollution. The Court said, “Stubble burning must stop immediately. Entire police machinery and local administration have to ensure that no crop burning takes place.”

In case of incidents of stubble burning, SC adds that the entire administration will be held responsible. The apex court asked Punjab, Haryana, and UP to explain why they should not be asked to pay compensation, given that they have failed to prevent stubble burning.

Reacting to the rising issue of air pollution in the country, Justice Arun Mishra said, “Delhi is choking every year, and we are not able to do anything. Every year this is happening for 10-15 days.”

Sunita Narain, environmentalist and director of Centre for Science and Environment, stated before the Court that between Punjab and Haryana, the latter has largely controlled burning. “When a situation like this arises, we can no longer be alarmed but need to act. This is an emergency now,” she said.

Dheeshma Puzhakkal

Dheeshma Puzhakkal

Dheeshma Puzhakkal is currently a Reporter with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University, she has interned with Greater Kashmir newspaper and NDTV. She has extensively written on satellite-based journalism, data stories besides covering anti-crime investigative agencies.

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