The widespread stubble burning in the regions of Haryana and Punjab is causing a problem in the national capital of the country. The air quality index of Delhi has deteriorated as the stubble burning incidents increase in Punjab.
Out of 37 air quality monitoring stations in Delhi, 23 recorded the AQI from 300 to 330 (very poor). The quality will degrade further if the situation persists. Overall, the AQI in Delhi, as recorded by the Central Pollution Control Board, is 250 which falls in the category of ‘poor’.
Hike in Stubble Burning by 45%
The state pollution control board has recorded 959 incidents of residue burning in Punjab from 23 September to 14 October. The number was 653 last year till this time. This is 45% more than the previous year.
The Air Quality Index in Punjab has been moderate to satisfactory. Amritsar registered poor AQI (220) with the highest number (357) of fire incidents. Ropar, Gobindgarh, Ludhiana, and Patiala registered moderate to satisfactory air quality.
Punjab Secretary in Denial
Punjab Agriculture Secretary Kahan Singh Pannu stated that Delhi’s pollution has nothing to do with Punjab’s residue burning as the state is experiencing easterly winds. He revealed that if anybody will be affected by the smoke, that will be Pakistan.
He further added “We are keeping a close tab. It is not that we will not suffer if we create pollution. We will be the victims. Hence, we are working hard to discourage farmers. Right from patwaris to the top, we have people in the field to appeal to the farmers.”
Air Quality to get worse in the Coming Days
The Malwa region is yet to harvest its paddy as the farmers cultivate the variety which matures late. Besides, Sirsa, Faridabad and Hisar region of Haryana would complete its harvest by the end of October. Thus, the situation will worsen in the coming days.
When farmers are asked about the burning of crop residue, they state that it is unfeasible for them to rent the equipment which is used to manage the crop waste. Also, the extended monsoon has already delayed the harvest of Kharif crops thus leaving less time to prepare the fields. Punjab Chief Minister wrote a letter to PM Modi requesting incentive for farmers who avoid stubble burning.