Spike in farm fires in Punjab to worsen air quality in border districts - ECAS Punjab

Spike in farm fires in Punjab to worsen air quality in border districts

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Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 26

Already facing a spurt in farm fires in the border belt, the air quality in districts nearing the Punjab-Haryana border, and eventually Delhi, is sure to take a further hit with farmers starting to burn paddy stubble in the Malwa belt. The air quality in Punjab is already worsening with people complaining of breathing difficulties and smog-like conditions on the city outskirts.

Harvest yet to begin in many parts of belt

  • While crop in many parts of the Malwa belt is yet to be harvested, it already has recorded 50% of the total farm fire incidents in the state
  • Ferozepur and Patiala saw maximum cases of stubble burning in the belt, recording over 3,700 of total 6,000 farm fires

While crop in many parts of the Malwa belt is yet to be harvested, it already accounts for around 50 per cent of the total farm fire incidents recorded in the state. As many as 6,000 of the total 12,985 cases have been recorded in the belt.

On Sunday, people complained of a black ash layer over their vehicles in Patiala and adjoining areas falling from the sky. "It was the straw particles blown from burning fields that settled after being blown away by wind speed," said a top Punjab Pollution Control Board official.

Ferozepur and Patiala saw maximum cases of stubble burning in the Malwa belt, which recorded over 3,700 of the total 6,000 farm fires in the Malwa belt till October 25.

The data from the Punjab Remote Sensing Authority showed that farmers were now resorting to farm fires in the fertile Malwa belt. Information gathered from the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) and Agriculture Department officials confirmed that farm fires were fast spreading in the Malwa belt and would further affect the air quality index of Punjab.

"Farmers are now resorting to stubble burning as they have little window before preparing the fields for the next crop," said a senior government officer. Stubble burning has been on the rise in the Malwa region since October 20.

Satellite data revealed that till October 24 night, Ferozepur had the maximum 1,537 stubble-burning incidents, followed by Patiala 1,160, Faridkot 630, Muktsar 333, Moga 232, Ludhiana 349, Bathinda 326, Mansa 232, Sangrur 413 and Fatehgarh Sahib 407. In the Majha belt, Taran Tarn and Amritsar continue to top the defaulting list with 2,620 and 1,800 farm fire incidents, respectively.

"A majority of farm fires in the Malwa belt started last week and the number is only going to grow in the next 10 days," said a top official.



from The Tribune https://ift.tt/2HAHRIz

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