The System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) released a report saying stubble burning was responsible for 32 percent of the overall pollution in Delhi by PM2.5 particles
Pollution control board officials of Punjab and Haryana have refuted claims that stubble burning by farmers is the reason for the plummeting air quality of New Delhi, saying cities around the fields where crop residue is burnt have cleaner air than the national capital, The Economic Times reported.
Every year, farmers in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh burn their paddy stubble during early winter.
The officials added that pollution was under control even though air quality deteriorated in areas bordering Delhi. They implied that Delhi’s air could be polluting Haryana’s air, not the other way round.
The System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) released a report saying stubble burning was responsible for 32 percent of the overall pollution in Delhi by PM2.5 particles.
However, the rice belt districts of Karnal, Kurukshetra and Kaithal, known as breeding grounds of stubble burning, did not see deterioration in air quality, said S Narayanan, member secretary of Haryana Pollution Control Board. He also said a high level of pollution was witnessed in Gurugram and Faridabad districts.
“Incidents of field fires had come down by 30-40 percent from last year. The cause for higher pollution of Gurugram and Faridabad could be local or an impact of Delhi,” he said.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) told governments of north Indian states to take urgent steps to help farmers curb crop residue burning. The NGT also appealed to industries to assist farmers by way of corporate social responsibility.
The tribunal had also fined the Delhi government Rs 2 lakh earlier this year for not filing an action plan providing incentives and infrastructure to farmers, assisting them in the disposal of the crop residue.There are some alternatives to burning crop residues like Indian-manufacturer ‘Happy Seeder’ that shreds crop residues into small pieces and spreads them across the field evenly. Farmers, however, have complained that they cannot afford these machines, and burning them is cheap and quick.