NASA Pic Shows River Of Smoke Over Delhi, Nearby Areas As Farm Fires Burn

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NASA Pic Shows River Of Smoke Over Delhi, Nearby Areas As Farm Fires Burn

The image comes as pollution levels remain dangerously high in Delhi.

New Delhi:

A river of smoke streaming from farm fires in Punjab and Haryana toward Delhi has been spotted by a NASA satellite. The national capital and its neighbouring areas were seen enveloped by the large plumes of smoke in the image captured on November 11.

The photo also showed ‘red dots’, representing large-scale fires in Punjab, Haryana and parts of Pakistan.

A NASA scientist, reacting to the heightened fire activity, said that at least 22 million people were affected by smoke from crop fires on this one day.

“Looking at the size of the plume on November 11 and the population density in this area, I would say that a conservative estimate is that at least 22 million people were affected by smoke on this one day,” said Pawan Gupta, a Universities Space Research Association (USRA) scientist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

This comes as pollution levels remain dangerously high in the city leading the government to shut five power stations and extend school closures to try to contain the crisis.

November usually brings worsening pollution, with a surge in the concentration of tiny airborne particles, partly because farmers set their fields alight in northern India ahead of a new sowing season. The annual post-harvest practice shrouds Delhi in toxic smog with landmarks just a few hundred metres away barely visible.

Smoke from crop fires is, however, not the only contributor to the hazy skies. Motor vehicles fumes, industrial and construction activity and road dust also produce pollutants.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday took exception to farmers being blamed for stubble burning amid the air pollution crisis in the national capital, saying “people sitting in five-star facilities in Delhi keep on accusing farmers” without taking note of their plight. It also pointed to to ”hi-fi cars” and “gas guzzlers” on Delhi roads, saying all affidavits referred to transportation as a pollution source.

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