Farm fires harming Punjab more than Delhi: PAU study
The study by Punjab Agricultural University says an analysis of wind speed done over three years shows that fall in temperature in October and November reduce the formation of air currentsUpdated: Oct 30, 2020, 11:32 IST
Stubble burning in Punjab is a localised problem and doesn’t add to air pollution in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), rather farmers are choking their own children and brethren by setting the fields on fire, finds a study by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).
The study says that the south-easterly direction of wind is highly unlikely to affect the air quality in the neighbouring states of Haryana and New Delhi.
The study says that the detailed analysis of wind speed done over three years shows that fall in temperature in October and November reduce the formation of air currents.
“So, a stable atmosphere is created in which only little vertical movement of air current occurs and horizontal transport of air is also reduced,” says the head of the department of climate change and agriculture meteorology of PAU, Prabhjyot Kaur Sidhu, who has compiled the study.
LOW WIND SPEED, DIP IN TEMPERATURE CREATES CLOSED-ROOM SITUATION
She, along with her team, has analysed the data of three years from 2017 to 2019 to conclude that the low wind speed and dip in temperature lead to a closed-room situation in which hardly anything enters or goes out.
She observed that only once, the wind speed exceeded 5km per hour (6.11 per hour) and “the wind direction was towards the south east (opposite Delhi)”.
“Every paddy-growing state is suffering from factors adding to its air pollution. In simple terms, Punjab’s smoke is not travelling 300-400 km to choke the lungs of Delhi, rather Punjab farmers are harming their own children and brethren by setting the fields on fire,” said Sidhu.
FIRECRACKERS AROUND DIWALI WORSEN THE PROBLEM
She said firecrackers around Diwali worsen the problem. While quoting the data of previous three years, she said smog was witnessed for 12 days till now this year, 10 days in 2019 and 11 days in 2018.
She said the number of smog days may increase this year as the incidence of stubble burning was relatively high.
The PAU finding is the second such study that claims Punjab farm fires are not contributing to Delhi’s pollution. In 2018, a joint study by the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Mohali, and Punjab Pollution Control Board had concluded that a significant contribution to Delhi’s air pollution was from within the NCR or Uttar Pradesh.
However, the PAU’s study has been criticised by local environmentalists, who says such studies could encourage more fire fires.