NASA images of stubble burning released by AAP minister
As Delhi air plunged to ‘very poor’ levels on Wednesday, environment minister Imran Hussain released NASA satellite’s recent images of large-scale crop residue burning in north India.
“It is high time that the crop residue burning in fields is immediately halted, failing which a serious health hazard awaits entire northern India,” the minister said in a statement issued by his office on Wednesday.
The minister has called upon the Centre and governments of neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana to take steps to prevent farmers from burning crop stubble.
Burning of paddy straw in Punjab and Haryana from mid-October to November, the harvest season, is a major contributor to air pollution in the capital.
During this time of the year, the wind pattern changes and it start blowing from northwest, bringing along dust and smoke pollutants from the farm fires. This drastically affects air quality in the national capital region.
Last week, Hussain had released pictures of crop residue burning from near Delhi-Chandigarh National Highway.
“It is beyond any reasonable understanding as to why this menace is being ignored despite a well-known fact that the consequences will be disastrous in the coming days,” the minister said.
However, with the implementation of the graded response action plan (Grap) to combat ‘poor’, very poor’ and ‘severe’ levels of air pollution, Hussain said there will be ‘zero tolerance’ towards waste and crop residue burning in Delhi.
The minister has also urged residents to curb vehicular emissions and use public transport. He directed construction agencies to follow dust-control norms, as construction dust is again a huge contributor to air pollution.