NEW DELHI: It’s around this time every year that air quality in the capital and its adjoining areas starts plunging — due to the onset of winter, coupled with crop burning in Punjab and Haryana and bursting of firecrackers on Diwali. Several experts have welcomed the Supreme Court’s move to impose a fresh ban on sale of firecrackers in Delhi/NCR. They have a reason to: Pollution worsened considerably in the last fortnight, with PM2.5 levels rising by up to 11 times between September 22 and October 8.
This is primarily because of crop burning in Haryana and Punjab, which shot up considerably in the last two weeks. Weather has played its part, too. On most days of October so far, winds have been blowing from north to southeast, bringing haze and toxins into Delhi. Data from last three years showed air quality worsened on Diwali and the day after — it was especially bad last year (see graphic).