Delhi’s air quality index plunged to “very poor” levels on Sunday, and remained there on Monday. Sunday’s satellite image of the region from NASA’s EOSDIS website indicates an increase in the number of crop fires in Punjab, northern Haryana and the Terai region of Uttar Pradesh, as compared with the previous week.
The image also shows the region thick smog/smoke over the region.
In Delhi, the AQI on Monday was 306, only slightly better than 318 the previous day. SAFAR calculated Monday’s AQI in the capital at 316. An index reading of above 300 is categorised as “very poor”, which is just a notch below the “severe” level (above 400). Crop fires in neighbouring states, despite a ban on the practice, usually last till the second half of November. How much effect the fires have on Delhi’s air quality depends on meteorological factors such as wind direction and speed, as well as temperatures.