A political tussle over air pollution in the Capital ensued between the Centre and the Delhi government on Sunday when Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the stubble burning in neighbouring States contribute only 4% of Delhi’s pollution and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal retaliated by calling it a ‘denial’.

According to government-run monitoring agency System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the contribution of stubble burning to PM2.5, a chief pollutant, was only 1% in Delhi NCT on Wednesday and 6% on Thursday.

According to SAFAR officials, the contribution varies between 0 and 40%, depending on the number of farm fires and wind direction among other factors.

“As many as 50 teams from CPCB will be deployed for inspection in Delhi-NCR from today (Thursday). Stubble burning contributes only 4% of pollutants in the environment of Delhi, rest is due to local factors like dust, construction and biomass burning,” Mr. Javadekar said on Thursday.

‘Denial won’t help’

Meanwhile, Mr. Kejriwal tweeted, “Staying in denial will not help. If stubble burning causes only 4% pollution, then why has pollution suddenly increased last fortnite? Air was clean before that. Same story every yr. There’s no massive jump in any local source of pollution in last few days to cause this spike [sic]?”

Later, Mr. Javadekar said his statement has been “misinterpreted” by a section of the media. “Let me clarify, the figures of 4% share of stubble burning in AQI in Delhi, pertained to this week. It varies from 4% to 40% during peak stubble burning. At the same time, let us not be in denial that there are several local factors — vehicular pollution, non-agricultural biomass burning, dust, geographical and metrological — that are primarily responsible for high air pollution during winters in Delhi,” the Union Minister tweeted.

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