Delhi's toxic smog partly caused by dust storm in Gulf: Indian govt air agency
November 17, 2017 | 12:56 PM
by Staff Reporter
People commute on a smoggy morning in New Delhi, India, November 8, 2017. Photo: Reuters

New Delhi: A dust storm in the Gulf 'triggered' the formation of toxic smog in New Delhi between November 6 and 14, a study by an air quality monitoring agency has revealed.

The Pune-based System of Air Quality And Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), which falls under the Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences, released the study on Delhi smog on Thursday.

According to the report, on November 8, strong dust storms in Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia had contributed to 40 per cent of air pollution in Delhi-NCR as compared to 25 per cent of the pollution being contributed by stubble burning and "local sources".

On that day, Delhi's air quality index was 478, which equates to "severe" levels of air pollution.

The study adds that there was a large multi-day dust storm that emerged in Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in the last week of October 2017 and continued up to November 3 and 4.

"This dust storm was carried by relatively cool winds," the report adds.

It added that strong winds at height and low wind speed on the surface ensured that pollutants were carried over to Delhi.

"Stubble burning at Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana were very high on November 6 and as upper air winds became North Westerly (towards Delhi), pollutants were strongly pumped in, exacerbating the situation," the report stated.

Subsequently, from around November 10, there was no pumping of dust from West Asia. Stubble burning also reduced as high altitude winds slowed down and changed direction, resulting in a brief respite from pollution, according to the report.

SAFAR is the only agency in India that releases pollution forecast bulletins.

With agency inputs.

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