Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai on Friday blamed large-scale fireworks on Diwali night and increased stubble fires in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana for the Capital’s ‘severe’ air quality. Rai also alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had encouraged people to defy the ban on bursting crackers in the city.
“Some people in Delhi burst firecrackers on purpose. The BJP is behind this,” Rai said on Friday.
The copy will be updated with BJP’s response to these allegations.
The minister also said that an increase in the number of stubble burning instances in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana also worsened the city’s air. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) satellite imagery shows that on Thursday, over 3500 farm fires were reported from Punjab and Haryana.
“Impact of 3,500 farm fires around Delhi was visible in the national capital today,” Rai said.
HT had reported that environmentalists and weather forecasters had warned that a late withdrawal of monsoon may cause Diwali pollution to coincide with the peak stubble burning instances in Delhi, pushing the city’s air quality to dangerous levels.
Delhi’s AQI on Thursday night slipped into the ‘severe’ zone, crossing the 400 mark on Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) air quality scale. The average AQI at 2pm was 463.