Forest Fires Spiked Air Pollution Level From 22 April in Delhi

The body says the odd-even data may have been misinterpreted due to the sudden spike in forest fire.

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A smoggy day in Delhi. (Photo: Reuters)

The second phase of the odd-even car rationing scheme helped “reduce” the air pollution during the initial few days but farm and forest fires played spoilsport and it registered a “sudden spike” from 22 April onwards, a green body claimed.

An analysis of the scheme by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) showed that air pollution dropped during the first few days but suddenly increased from 22 April.

Analysis of NASA satellite pictures has exposed massive crop fires in Punjab and Haryana that started around 19 April, which could be the reason behind the rise in pollution levels.
Centre for Science and Environment

It said the benefit of the scheme was “misinterpreted” due to crop fires that led to a sudden spike in pollution around a week after its start.

Our investigation has exposed that irresponsible explanation of the air quality trend has led to misinterpretation of the benefit of the odd-even scheme and helped create the industry myth that vehicles are not the problem. They have missed the massive crop fires that started around 20 April and got intense over time and elevated pollution not only in Delhi but in other cities of northern India as well.

It said that PM2.5 levels declined substantially compared to the previous fortnight between 15 April and 23 April.

The average PM2.5 level during the first nine days was 24 percent lower than the average of the previous fortnight.

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