Chennai beats Delhi in pollution, records 'very poor' air quality

A man crosses a street in smoggy conditions

According to IMD, the key reasons behind improvement of Delhi's air pollution were-wind speed, arrival of western disturbance and dip in stubble burning.

"The right to life is involved".

The court said "enough was enough" and slammed the central and the concerned state governments for shifting the blame on each other and doing virtually nothing to improve air quality.

Each winter the post-harvest burning of crop stubble covers swaths of the region in toxic smog, which combines with auto and factory emissions to turn Delhi into the world's most polluted capital. "We outright reject the suggestion of allowing stubble burning on certain conditions", the court said.

The Attorney General also said that since two lakh farmers were involved in stubble burning, it will be practically hard to control it. The bench had sought personal appearance of Chief Secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh to seek their explanation on the failure and also to ensure that this does not happen again.

A Supreme Court-mandated panel had last week declared a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR region after air quality in the national capital dipped to the hazardous "severe plus" category.

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Farmers have been blamed for the worsening problem, particularly in Delhi's neighbouring regions of Punjab and Haryana, where they continue to burn crop residues.

Just after Uttar Pradesh has witnessed a poor air quality after Diwali, Kanpur's air quality index has been reeling under the poor category due to the stubble burning in the nearby areas.

"We can't leave the country in this situation, why only burning is the solution", said the court insisting it expects war-level response from the state government on the stubble burning issue.

But the current crisis has turned into the worst in three years, and New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called for a range of measures to fight what he described as "unbearable pollution".

"Why can't you help the farmers with machines and money and pick up the stubble for use elsewhere", he observed.

Observing that small and marginal farmers are often left behind and big farmers reap benefits, the court said it must change. The major pollutant PM 2.5 was at 249 level in the national capital today, according to government's pollution monitoring agency SAFAR.

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