Pollution in Delhi: NASA image shows “river of smoke” covering the city, caused in part by stubble

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Air pollution in the Delhi-NCR region has been an alarming problem for years. In winter, pollution increases dramatically and covers the city with thick smog. In a recent NASA finding, a cause for this problem has been identified. Photos tweeted by The Weather Channel India show that stubble in neighboring states is causing part of an increase in pollution in that region. Satellite imagery captured by NASA shows stubble plumes streaming from these states towards the Delhi-NCR. The caption read: “Every winter, pollution in Delhi increases dramatically, in part due to stubble burning activities in neighboring states. Now NASA has taken satellite images showing stubble plumes streaming towards Delhi.”

The Weather Channel India has explained the process of stubble burning. Farmers typically flare their crop residues to prepare the fields for the next season. The tweet read, “This annual activity is exacerbating recurring seasonal pollution.”

Every winter #DelhiPollution increases dramatically, partly due to stubble burning activities in neighboring states.

Now @NASA has taken satellite images showing stubble plumes streaming towards #Delhi.

Read: https://t.co/SAYQW1XdCT

????: Lauren Dauphin / NASA Earth Obsv. pic.twitter.com/VL5UUnaZVO

– The Weather Channel India (@weatherindia) November 24, 2021

#StubbleBurning is the process by which farmers remove crop residues by flaring them to make way for a new batch of crops. This annual activity aggravates the recurring seasonal pollution.

????: Piyal Bhattacharjee / TOI, BCCL, Delhi pic.twitter.com/qRx416Yesn

– The Weather Channel India (@weatherindia) November 24, 2021

The images captured by NASA show a “river of smoke” rising from crop residues in Punjab and Haryana. This extends towards Delhi.

The images captured by @NASA highlight the extent of the #stubbleBurning problem by depicting a massive “flow of smoke” emanating from fires in Punjab, Haryana and even northern Pakistan and extending towards Delhi.

????: Lauren Dauphin / NASA Earth Obsv. pic.twitter.com/1zQ6VorjOW

– The Weather Channel India (@weatherindia) November 24, 2021

Often the increase in air pollution is also attributed to fewer air currents during this time of the year. This year’s sustained monsoons, however, helped curb the pollution surge in early November. But the pollution increased afterwards. NASA had identified more than 74,000 fires in Punjab as of November 16.

The NASA update also indicated that this year’s lingering monsoon spell curbed the pollution surge in early November.

But since November 11th, fire activity has increased, with VIIRS registering> 74,000 sources of fire in Punjab by November 16.

???: Y Kumar / BCCL pic.twitter.com/MpsrNu8v3L

– The Weather Channel India (@weatherindia) November 24, 2021

Pawan Gupta, a USRA scientist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, spoke about pollution on November 11th. He said, “A conservative estimate is that at least 22 million people were affected by smoke that day.”

“If you look at the size of the smoke cloud on November 11 and the population density in the area, I would say that on that one day, according to a conservative estimate, at least 22 million people were affected by smoke,” said Pawan Gupta, a USRA- Scientists at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

– The Weather Channel India (@weatherindia) November 24, 2021

The stubble burning processes increase in winter and thus add up to pollution.

The beginning of the winter months coincides with the stubble burning of farmers in neighboring countries. This adds up to the pollution problems of the inland capital region, which is bordered in the east by the foothills of the Himalayas.

– The Weather Channel India (@weatherindia) November 24, 2021

The tweet thread explained that the drop in temperature and lack of wind during the winter months mean the air pollutants are trapped in the atmosphere for long periods of time. Ultimately, it leads to various health hazards.

The pollutants remain in the atmosphere longer than usual because the mercury content drops, there is no wind, etc.

These combined effects make air quality in Delhi dangerous even for healthy people, while seriously affecting those with breathing difficulties.

????: S Kataria / BCCL pic.twitter.com/R1VrWcFLSK

– The Weather Channel India (@weatherindia) November 24, 2021

Pollution in Delhi has become a worrying topic again this year.

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