City air quality may plummet due to Punjab farm fires
Between September 15 and October 26 this year, total paddy residue burning events reported in Punjab were 7,036, compared to 6,463 for the same period last year, the commission said.
Published: 28th October 2022 08:04 AM | Last Updated: 28th October 2022 08:04 AM | A+A A-
NEW DELHI: Days after the national capital witnessed better air quality owing to less pollution post-Diwali, a central pollution monitoring watchdog raised alarm about a possible deterioration in air quality due to an increase in crop stubble burning in neighbouring Punjab.
The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) for Delhi-NCR and adjoining states on Thursday noted a 9% rise in the number of farm fires in Punjab compared to the previous year and called the phenomenon a “serious concern”.
Between September 15 and October 26 this year, total paddy residue burning events reported in Punjab were 7,036, compared to 6,463 for the same period last year, the commission said. “As per the satellite remote sensing data, till October 24 only about 39% of sown area in Punjab was harvested. Thus rising number of fire events is an alarming situation,” a note issued by the CAQM read.
The environment agency said that 70% of farm fires during the current paddy harvesting season were reported from six districts of the state—Amritsar, Firozpur, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala, Patiala, and Tarn Taran—which have been identified as the traditional burning hotspots for crop residue burning events.
They contributed to 65% of the farm fires in the previous season as well. However, the commission observed a decline of 26% in farm fire events from Haryana reported during the same time period as compared to last year. “The total number of farm fire events reported for the period of September 15—October 26 this year is 1,495 compared to 2,010 for the same period in 2021,” it said.
The CAQM said that it held nine meetings with the Punjab government to address various issues related to stubble burning, including five meetings with the chief secretary of the state. Meanwhile, they also held review meetings with officials of major districts to implement the action plan of the Punjab government, officials said.