Despite the state government taking different steps to create awareness about the harmful effects of stubble burning, there seems to be no end to the activity. As many as 200 cases were reported in last four days. The issue has lead to respiratory problems among residents as well as the farming community.
After the harvesting is over, farmers generally burn the wheat stubble and paddy straw in the open fields to clear the land for the next season.
Experts say that the stubble burning can be dangerous as the ashes and dust (called soot) is deposited in lungs, leading to respiratory issues, like asthma and other ailments.
Deputy medical superintendent chest and TB hospital Dr Naveen Pandhi said, “Farmers who have now become aware of the health issues are coming for treatment.”
“A disease, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, is on the rise among farmers. In this accumulation of dust particles leads to inflammation in the lungs,” he added.
District agriculture officer Balbir Singh Chinna said, “ Overall there is a decline in the activity. Some farmers are even seeking help, however, the stubble burning has not stopped completely.”
Environmental engineer pollution board Jaswant Singh Randhawa, said, “Out of the total 200 cases reported, many have been fined. We have received a fine of Rs 10, 000.”
ENT specialist Dr Prahald Duggal said, “Not just rural areas, there is a constant rise in patient with different allergies from urban areas too. The possibility of effects of straw burning cannot be ruled out.”