Forest fires may have worsened Doon air quality to Delhi levels | India News – Times of India

DEHRADUN: The spate of forest fires earlier this year may have caused Dehradun’s air quality to plummet to ‘poor category’ — where air quality index (AQI) levels hover between 201 and 300 — for two straight months. In March, the AQI was 237, and April 225. This put Dehradun in the same range as Delhi, where the AQI swung between 190 to 250 during the same period.
“In all likelihood, the pollution rise in Dehradun in these two months can be related to the forest fires, with other factors like construction works and vehicular pollution also contributing,” said SP Subudhi, member secretary, state pollution control board.
Rishikesh, which neighbours Dehradun, also witnessed poor AQI of 221 during March. Covid curfew seems to have had little impact on the environment of Uttarakhand this time unlike previous year’s lockdown when the air quality in March and April remained in ‘moderate and satisfactory categories’ with AQI levels between 51 and 200 across the state.
In March, the state lost 868.4 hectares of forest cover in 627 fire incidents whereas April saw 1,807 fire incidents and the loss of 24,18.65 hectares of forest cover. The intensity of forest fires this year could be gauged by the fact that in April IAF choppers called from Bareilly for fire-fighting in Kumaon could not take off because the smoke was extremely dense.

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