The air quality in Delhi remains in the poor category, owing to constant stubble burning in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.
As per the latest Air Quality Index (AQI) data, the air quality of Delhi's Lodhi Road area showed levels of prominent pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 at 224 and 272, respectively, above normal.
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered "good", 51 and 100 "satisfactory", 101 and 200 "moderate", 201 and 300 "poor", 301 and 400 "very poor", and 401 and 500 "severe".
On the other hand, farmers in Punjab are continuing to burn stubble in Ludhiana's Raul village, owing to the absence of machinery.
"We are small farmers. The government claims they have dispatched machines but there is no machine here to collect stubble. What else will we do? Happy seeder isn't suitable for us. Machines are very expensive, cannot afford," a farmer said.
Farmers in Ludhiana's Jaspal Bangar on Wednesday explained why burning stubble is important for the farm. One of the farmers said that it is difficult to prepare compost with the help of machines as it takes almost 20 days for the whole process to be completed.
"If we prepare compost in the field with the help of machines it will take 20 days, with stubble burning it takes three days only. There are few machines and moreover the farmers don't have enough money to afford diesel and machines," the farmer told ANI.
As autumn sets in, bringing along with it the harvesting period for Kharif crops, stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana is causing deterioration of air quality in New Delhi and the neighbouring National Capital Region. This, in turn, has necessitated the NGT to implement strict norms on stubble burning.
Particles from stubble burning combine with industrial pollution, vehicle exhaust and dust to cover the region every year as winter approaches and wind speeds drop.
Following the directions of the Supreme Court, the Centre approved a large sum of money for modern tools and technology to combat the problem.
In the Union Budget 2017-18, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had assured to provide assistance to the governments of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi National Capital Territory (NCT) to deal with the worsening air quality.
The decision came after Delhi's air pollution levels spiked last year, leaving people gasping for breath.