Tuesday, July 16, 2024
HomeNews ReportsWhile states ban Diwali firecrackers to ‘control pollution’, NASA satellite images show stubble burning...

While states ban Diwali firecrackers to ‘control pollution’, NASA satellite images show stubble burning already started in Punjab and Haryana

Incidents of farm fire in the states of Punjab and Haryana have started to show up on Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) satellite imagery of NASA

Even while courts and state governments ban Diwali firecrackers in the name of controlling pollution, stubble burning in the farms in north India, one of the major causes of air pollution, continues uncontrolled. Despite talks of controlling stubble burning during this time of the year every year, burning of crop residue in the farms in Punjab and Haryana have already started this year, like in previous years.

Incidents of farm fire in the states of Punjab and Haryana have started to show up on Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) satellite imagery of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). As per Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), over 200 such incidents have been recorded so far in the Majha region of Punjab since September 1.

On September 29 alone, 66 fire incidents were recorded in Punjab, while Haryana reported 23 fire incidents. Towards the end of September, stubble burning starts to show up on the satellite images, and it keeps growing during the second week of October. Such incidents have become the cause of severe air pollution in the national capital region over the last several years.

Experts believe as monsoon is yet to withdraw from Punjab and Haryana, the data of stubble burning will become more comparable only by mid-October. Crop fire pattern depends largely on the movement of the rains in the states of Punjab, Haryana, UP and Delhi. LS Kurinji, programme associate at CEEW, said, “Over 200 farm fires have been reported in the Majha region (Amritsar and Tarn Taran) of Punjab so far. Satellite-derived fire event data over the last few years indicates a recurring pattern of early stubble burning in the region that commences in the last week of September.”

She further said that it was too early to derive any conclusive trends on the fire incidents. The Punjab government must act quickly to ensure timely access to crop residue management solutions for the farmers. She added, “The fires we are witnessing these days seem to be following the trend observed in corresponding periods over the last five years. Targeted awareness campaigns and surveillance in high-burn villages are needed to stop stubble burning.”

In 2020, IIT Delhi carried out a study in which they identified 554 villages in Punjab and Haryana where stubble burning incidents were widely reported. The study mentioned regions like Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Firozpur, Ludhiana, Faridkot, Bathinda, Mansa, Patiala and Sangrur in Punjab and Hisar, Sirsa and Kaithal in Haryana were the biggest contributors in stubble burning. The intensity of the fire, wind patterns and close proximity to Delhi of these regions became the major factor of deteriorated air quality in the national capital.

Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in NCR had said in a statement last week that Punjab and NCT states were working on a detailed action plan to manage crop residue. This winter season, the bio-decomposer solution developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute is going to be used in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to reduce the incidents of stubble burning. Reports suggest that 7,413 acres in Punjab, 1 lakh acres in Haryana and 6 lakh acres in Uttar Pradesh would be sprayed with the solution. Every state has been directed to adopt a standard protocol developed by ISRO to monitor farm fire counts in this coming season to ensure check on stubble burning incidents.

The target on Hindu festival Diwali

Every year, close to the Hindu festival Diwali, the incidents of stubble burning increase exponentially causing massive air pollution. As a result, the state governments like Delhi as well as Supreme Court has favoured imposing a ban on firecrackers instead. Interestingly, as per multiple studies, firecrackers are not even among the top reasons for poor air quality in the national capital. However, by claiming that firecrackers busted on Dusshera and Diwali are the “main” reason for pollution, the governments and courts become okay with arresting kids and their parents who are found enjoying the festivities with fireworks. The Supreme Court had even rejected a study by experts and said they do not need “scientific studies” to see the effects of firecrackers. This year, Delhi, Rajasthan and Odisha have already announced a ban on firecrackers during Diwali.

Notably, last year, several cases were registered against the farmers for stubble burning, but they were later withdrawn under the pressure of the farmer unions. This year, the same farmers may again indulge in stubble burning with a grin on their face.

Join OpIndia's official WhatsApp channel

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

Recently Popular

- Advertisement -