The EPCA chief cited data from SAFAR agency and wrote that Monday saw 42 counts of fire and this figure on Sunday stood at 20.
Pollution in Delhi: Delhi might soon be choking again as stubble burning seems to have started up again in Punjab and Haryana. The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), which has been appointed by the Supreme Court, on Tuesday wrote to Punjab and Haryana chief secretaries, drawing their attention towards the issue of stubble burning and the need to urgently address it, according to a report in IE. The letter was written by EPCA Chairman Bhure Lal and it said that it seemed that crop residue burning had begun in the two states.
As per the report, the body chief cited data from SAFAR agency and wrote that Monday saw 42 counts of fire and this figure on Sunday stood at 20. It appeared that the fires had started after September 15, when no fires were recorded, he wrote. He was quoted by the report as stating that the impact of stubble burning on the air quality index (AQI) of Delhi would be minimal for the next three days, because the winds would not be supportive for the transportation and accumulation of the pollutants.
The letter further said that while at the moment, it was not impacting air pollution significantly, the season for crop burning has begun in the states and the issue needs urgent attention as per the directive of the apex court.
Every year, as the winter sets in, farmers in the northwestern states of the country, burn the stubble of their paddy crops in order to clean their fields quickly and prepare it for sowing wheat crops. The smoke caused by the fires then ventures over to Delhi, causing severe air pollution in the national capital during the winter months.
The EPCA head told the chief secretaries of the two states that the Supreme Court had specified the measures the states should take to manage stubble, in order to curb farm fires. Moreover, Lal told them to ensure that farmers can avail stubble managing machines at affordable rates.
The letter added that control rooms must be set up where directions can be issued as well as actions can be taken to tackle the issue.
Apart from the letter, the EPCA also met with the Delhi Pollution Control Committee on Tuesday over the 15 hotspots of air pollution in the national capital, which had been inspected by the DPCC in August and September in a bid to identify the causes and sources of pollution. After the inspection, DPC had issued directions to different agencies to ensure that the causes and sources of pollution are controlled.
Stubble burning poses a more serious threat this year, because a decline in air quality would make things worse for the national capital, which is already dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Every year, due to air pollution, people have trouble breathing properly, and this added to COVID-19, which also threatens the lungs of the patients, could become a problem if not addressed properly.