Stubble burning continues in Greater Noida villages, air quality deteriorates to near severeUpdated: Oct 26, 2020, 00:03 IST
Noida: Even as some areas of Gautam Budh Nagar choked on ‘severe’ air quality on Sunday, stubble burning continues unabated in rural pockets of Noida, despite curbs.
Several large mounds of stubble were set afire late Saturday on the agriculture field along the Yamuna Expressway near Jewar and Rabupura areas, with officials yet to inspect the areas. According to experts, instances of stubble burning are set to increase towards the first week of November, when paddy harvesting is in its last stage.
Meanwhile, officials of the Uttar Pradesh agriculture department – which is responsible for checking stubble burning and acting against violators – said they will look into the matter and will visit the spot to ascertain the scale of burning, and take action.
“We will get the said area checked and act against violators. We are vigilant about stubble burning and are aiming to minimise and discourage it. We act on the basis of satellite images and receive the reports on a daily basis, which contains coordinates of the suspected area that shows high light or fire intensity. A local official is sent to inspect the suspected area and based on the confirmation, penalties are imposed,” said Manveer Singh, deputy director, agriculture, Gautam Budh Nagar.
He added that so far, one FIR has been registered against a farmer in Dankaur for alleged stubble burning.
“We have so far found only one defaulter in Dankaur area and an FIR was registered against him. Since our aim is to discourage stubble burning and it was a first time offence, the department did not impose a penalty,” said Singh.
He added that the penalty against stubble burning is ₹2,500 for a farm up to two acres, ₹5,000 for farm up to four acres and ₹15,000 for above four acres.
“We are taking steps to encourage farmers through advertisements and awareness campaigns not to burn stubble. Farmers are also being encouraged to convert stubble into fodder or manure. However, instances still occur and are also dealt with strictly. We are actively monitoring such cases,” said AN Mishra, joint director, state agriculture department, Meerut.
Meanwhile, experts said that stubble burning is responsible for at least 15-20% of the city’s air pollution.
“As winters are approaching, the mixing height reduces and pollutants aggregate near the surface. Stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh makes it worse by contributing up to 20% (of the air pollution). The main contribution of stubble burning is the pollutant PM2.5, which mixes in the blood stream and affects health. Instances of stubble burning are likely to increase by the first week of November and that’s when the air quality will further deteriorate. In Noida, it’s already in the ‘very-poor’ category, while one monitoring station showed ‘severe’ air quality. Immediate curbs, such as discouraging stubble burning at least at the local level, are a must,” said Shambhavi Shukla, program officer, air quality at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
On Sunday, the air quality index (AQI) of Noida, on a scale of 0 to 500, was 362 or ‘very poor’ against 347 a day earlier. The AQI of Ghaziabad was at 379, also ‘very poor’, against 356 a day earlier.
Meanwhile, Greater Noida turned out to be the most polluted area in the National Capital Region, with an AQI of 392, eight points shy from reaching the ‘severe’ category, on Sunday against 356 a day earlier.
According to data from the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), AQI at the Knowledge Park-V metro station in Greater Noida was 419 on a scale of 0 to 500, or ‘severe’.
“The main reason of deterioration in the air quality in Greater Noida area is meteorological, but other sources such as unauthorised industrial and domestic waste burning, etc., aid the scenario. In the last three days, we have imposed penalties on five such violators and are actively monitoring any such violations,” said Archna Dwivedi, regional officer, UPPCB, Greater Noida.