Delhi environment minister urges Centre to hold emergency meeting with neighbouring states on stubble burning
Even though state governments of Haryana and Punjab introduced new strategies to combat farm fires, data collected by Hindustan Times showed the neighbouring state of Punjab witnessed 3,032 incidents of farm fires on Diwali
Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai said on Sunday that the Centre should hold an “emergency” meeting with the states bordering the national capital to address the issue of crop residue burning. Rai also claimed that burning of crop residue in the states of Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh is behind Delhi’s worsening air quality.
"There was also the effect of cracker bursting on Diwali but it's waning now. The effect of ‘parali’ burning, however, continues to worsen air quality in Delhi," the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislator told reporters during a press conference.
The overall air quality in the national capital remained in the ‘severe’ category, two days after Diwali, as the air quality index (AQI) stood at an alarming 436 on Sunday morning. Data from System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) shows that farm fires or crop residue burning contributed 25% of PM 2.5 on Diwali, the highest concentration since October 20.
Even though state governments of Haryana and Punjab introduced new strategies to combat farm fires, data collected by Hindustan Times showed the neighbouring state of Punjab witnessed 3,032 incidents of farm fires on Diwali. At around 228, Haryana too witnessed a surge in farm fires on Diwali.
A delayed harvesting season as well as lack of sufficient incentives to encourage farmers to keep them from burning crop residue contributed to this spike.
Bursting of firecrackers on Diwali had also contributed to the national capital’s deteriorating air quality. Despite a government ban on the use, sale, and storage of crackers citizens openly flouted the rules after procuring firecrackers from the neighbouring states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
The AAP government hit out at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for encouraging people to burn crackers and for giving the issue of cracker ban a “religious colour”.