Delhi air pollution: NASA satellite shows most active fire season over Punjab, Haryana

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Updated: November 20, 2021 5:52 PM

The satellite imagery has identified more than 17,000 fire hotspots over Punjab and Haryana turning the current season the most active fire season since it started capturing such data.

Jethva added that there are still a few weeks to pass before the paddy harvest season comes to the end and the incidents are likely to increase further.(Credit:NASA)

Delhi air pollution: In a significant finding that has a bearing on the worsening air pollution in Delhi-NCR, a NASA satellite has shown that the current season is the most active fire season over Punjab and Haryana explaining the cause behind severe air pollution in Delhi. On November 11, NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite captured images from the wide swathes over Punjab and Haryana of smoke moving towards the national capital, the Indian Express reported. The NASA data shows that the current season is the most active fire season which in all likelihood may have been caused by frequent incidents of stubble burning.

The NASA satellite relied on the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) which is capable of tracking any changes in the temperature of the ocean and land surface and can also identify fire incidents.

Pawan Gupta who is a Universities Space Research Association (USRA) scientist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center was quoted as saying in a statement that by the estimates of the size of the smoke plume at least 22 million people must have been affected by smoke on November 11 alone. Gupta added that the number of incidents of stubble burning seems to be higher in Haryana this year in contrast to 2020 when such incidents had come down from the state.

The air quality levels in the national capital for both PM 2.5 and PM 10 particles remain far worse than the permissible limits over the last few weeks. Hiren Jethva who is also a Universities Space Research Association scientist based at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center said that the satellite imagery has identified more than 17,000 hotspots over Punjab and Haryana turning the current season the most active fire season. Jethva added that there are still a few weeks to pass before the paddy harvest season comes to the end and the incidents are likely to increase further.

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