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Stubble-burning incidents in Punjab record a 20 percent rise, plunging Delhi’s AQI to ‘very poor’ category

Punjab has reportedly witnessed around 8147 incidents of stubble burning from September 15 to October 27. The state has also recorded a 20 per cent increase in such incidents in comparison to the number of farm fires in the same period last year, affecting the quality of air in the major parts of Delhi, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.

On Friday, the Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital fell into the ‘very poor’ category as the state of Punjab witnessed around 2067 incidents of parali stubble burning. The overall AQI of Delhi stood at 357 (304 in the year 2021) while the highest AQI was recorded at Anand Vihar measuring between 455 to 500.

Reportedly, the state of Punjab has witnessed around 8147 incidents of stubble burning from September 15 to October 27. The state has also recorded a 20 per cent increase in such incidents in comparison to the number of farm fires in the same period last year, affecting the quality of air in the major parts of Delhi, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.

The incident came to light as BJP National Spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla tweeted saying that the state of Punjab had witnessed 2067 Parali burning incidents in one day. He also slammed the AAP government for ignoring the stubble-burning incidents and blaming firecrackers for the poor air quality of the city.

“Diwali is long over but the AQI in Delhi and the pollution in Delhi are plummeting. AQI has crossed 300 in many parts of Delhi but firecrackers are not to be blamed. The real cause of blame as per Mr Kejriwal was Punjab’s burning of parali stubble. He said this last year and last to last year. In fact, in Punjab, a 20 per cent increase has been marked in stubble burning compared to last year. 2000 incidents of stubble burning have taken place just yesterday and entire north India is facing severe pollution”, the BJP leader said.

He added, “According to the IIT, the main causes of pollution in Delhi are vehicular pollution, industrial pollution, dust on roads, construction dust, and biomass burning. What has been done by the AAP government in Punjab and Delhi on these fronts? What happened to Pusa Bio Decomposer?”

The BJP leader also said that the AAP leaders had done nothing for Delhi as far as the issue of pollution is concerned and now were imposing bans on Chhat Puja and firecrackers during Diwali. “The only agenda of the AAP government was to demonize Diwali and demonize Hindus. They could not clean the river Yamuna so they have also put a ban on Chhat Puja at the ghats of Yamuna”, he said.

Delhi on October 28 witnessed severe pollution. The AQI at Anand Vihar measured between 455 to 500 at around 4 pm. However, Delhi had an overall AQI of 357, Ghaziabad 384, Noida 371, Greater Noida 364, and Faridabad 346. The air quality in the several cities of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar also fell in the ‘very poor’ category. Reports mention that an AQI between 0 to 50 is regarded as ‘good’, 51 to 100 as ‘satisfactory’, 101 to 200 as ‘moderate’, 201 to 300 as ‘poor’, 301 to 400 as ‘very poor’, and 401 to 500 as ‘severe’. 

According to the Centre for Science and Environment, Stubble burning is the large-scale combustion of crop residues from the rice-wheat systems of Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh. The transport level winds then carry the smoke from the farm fires to Delhi and nearby areas affecting the quality of air.

Earlier, in July 2022, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann said that they would do everything possible to provide a healthy environment to the people of Delhi. They also proposed to provide a cash incentive of Rs 2500 per acre to the farmers for not burning their paddy stubble.

Also in the year 2020, the Kejriwal government distributed Pusa bio-decomposer for stubble management, free of cost to the farmers. He had said that the stubble burning in neighbouring states in October is a major factor behind the high level of air pollution in Delhi and that the usage of Pusa bio-decomposer would help reduce the pollution.

However, the state of Punjab witnessed around 8147 incidents of stubble-burning from September 15 to October 27 this year. The state also recorded a 20 per cent increase in such incidents in comparison to the number of farm fires in the same period last year, affecting the quality of air in the major parts of Delhi, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.

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