Stubble Burning a Stumbling Block for Environment Minister

Published: 04th November 2015 06:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th November 2015 06:20 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: In a bid to rein in air pollution, the Union Environment Ministry has asked Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan to launch an intensive drive to monitor crop residue burning and take action against the violators. States have been told to make use of satellite-based remote sensing technology to aid in the monitoring process.

Biomass burning is one of the major causes of air pollution during winters, leading to deterioration of air quality in North India. This aggravates respiratory problems among people. This year also, the practice has led to smog in the Delhi-NCR belt. Delhi has been rated as world’s most polluted city in the past few years.

 In a letter written on Monday to chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, Ashok Lavasa, who is the secretary of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, reminded them that the ministry had issued advisories in the past asking the states to curb open burning of crop residue and biomass in fields.

“It appears that both the advisory as well as the measures contained in the National Policy for Management of Crop Residue, 2014, have not been implemented, which is leading to occurrence of smog in the NCR. It is evident from the satellite image that there are hundreds of fire spots across Punjab and Haryana and smog over northern parts of India,” said Lavasa.

He said the satellite images clearly indicated that measures taken by governments to discourage the burning of crop residue in fields are not effective, thus resulting in severe air pollution in the northern part of the country.

“I request you to launch an intensive monitoring in your state, including through satellite-based remote sensing technologies, to monitor crop residue management. I also urge you to take stringent measures, including punitive action to prevent and control burning of crop residue and biomass in agricultural fields,” added Lavasa, while asking them to apprise the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change about the action taken in this regard so far.

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