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Sunday, Dec 08, 2019

No relief from stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana till at least November 30

The ministry of earth science’s weather and air quality centre has, however, predicted that the share of farm fires is expected to come down to 5% on Friday due to the increase in wind speed.

india Updated: Nov 15, 2019 11:15 IST
Soumya Pillai
Soumya Pillai
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A member of the Haryana Pollution Control Board said It will be another two weeks before I can say that the stubble burning season is over in the state.
A member of the Haryana Pollution Control Board said It will be another two weeks before I can say that the stubble burning season is over in the state. (HT Photo )
         

No immediate relief is expected from the pollution emanating from crop stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana as the harvesting season is not expected to get over before at least November 30, said officials of the pollution control boards of the two states.

On Thursday, farm fires contributed to nearly 13% of the PM 2.5 in Delhi’s air, as per System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) data. However, the calm wind on Thursday was not enough to disperse the traces of smoke from stubble burning from the previous day.

“On Thursday, 13% was fresh contribution from stubble burning. However, the cumulative contribution was nearly 30% because the wind was not strong enough to blow away the pollution particles. Usually, last day’s pollution gets dispersed,” said a SAFAR scientist on Thursday.

However, the ministry of earth science’s weather and air quality centre predicted that the share of farm fires is expected to come down to 5% on Friday due to the increase in wind speed.

The SAFAR bulletin also showed that there is a possibility of rain in Punjab and Haryana on Saturday. But, this means that the burning will be extended by a few more days.

In Haryana, harvesting of paddy is pending in five main districts, Fatehabad, Sirsa, Jind, Hisar and Kaithal. Member secretary Haryana Pollution Control Board, S Narayanan said Fatehabad and Sirsa districts alone contributed to 45% of the state’s stubble burning cases last year.

“It will be another two weeks before I can say that the stubble burning season is over. Fatehabad and Sirsa have reported several incidents of crop residue burning and we will keep a close eye on the villages here,” said Narayanan.

Between September 20 and November 14, 6,104 cases of stubble burning were reported from Haryana, compared to 7,885 cases reported in the same period last year.

K Garg, member secretary of the Punjab Pollution Control Board, said the incidents of farm fires have already started decreasing. “We are already seeing a reduction in the number of cases and we are hoping by November 20, the harvesting will be completed,” he said.

Data, however, tells a different story. The recent inspection report from PPCB shows that nearly 40% of harvesting is due in the districts of Bhatinda, Barnala, Malwa, Sangrur and Mansa.

Delhi’s environment minister Kailash Gahlot said Delhiites have been suffering because of the inaction of the agencies in the neighbouring states and it was high time that the governments of Punjab and Haryana stepped up action to control stubble burning.

“Delhi is already suffering on account of uncontrolled stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana. We are doing everything here; we have shut down construction activities, polluting industries are closed, odd-even scheme has been in place, but the actual source remains uncontrolled despite Supreme Court orders,” Gahlot said.