GufranBeig, scientist with the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, along with the DPCC and the India Meteorological Department (IMD), analysed data from February 20 to April 14 and prepared base level of seven pollutants for PM10, PM2.5, NO2 and SO2, among others. They published their research on October 10.
During the lockdown period, pollution remained below the 40µg/m3 mark on most days and even touched 20µg/m3. On October 10, it was 95µg/m3, almost five times of the baseline. “The baseline levels of PM10 and PM2.5 were found to be 38µg/m3 (± 8) and 22µg/m3 (± 6), respectively. They found the baseline value of NO2 to be 8ppb (± 3), which is considered being very high,” stated the research paper.
The high baseline figures show that stubble burning is not the only issue, Delhi can raise its baseline pollution by five times without the smog or stubble burning.
Smart politicians do not want to threaten Delhites with penalties, fines or imprisonment to change their behaviour. They want Haryana and Punjab to threaten their citizens to change.
This war against pollution seems to have become a war by urban dwellers against the rural poor.
(The writer is a public policy expert)