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Stubble burning in northern India

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    22nd Oct, 2018
  • After experiencing good to moderate air quality during summer and monsoon season, air pollution levels have again made a comeback with the air quality index (AQI) falling to very poor level.
  • Air pollution in Delhi is directly linked to the practice of stubble burning which takes place in surrounding states of Punjab and Haryana during the autumn season. The NASA, on its official website, stated that burning of crop residue in Punjab and Haryana has increased significantly from the beginning of Rabi season (October).

Issue

Context

  • After experiencing good to moderate air quality during summer and monsoon season, air pollution levels have again made a comeback with the air quality index (AQI) falling to very poor level.
  • Air pollution in Delhi is directly linked to the practice of stubble burning which takes place in surrounding states of Punjab and Haryana during the autumn season. The NASA, on its official website, stated that burning of crop residue in Punjab and Haryana has increased significantly from the beginning of Rabi season (October).

About

  • Stubble burning is a post-harvest practice used to clear fields of paddy crop residue by burning them. This practice mostly carried out in Punjab, Haryana and UP contributes solely to the grave winter pollution in the national capital.
  • During milling of paddy about 78% of weight is received as rice, broken rice and bran. Rest 22%of the weight of the paddy is husk. For farmers, burning the residue becomes the easiest way of disposing it owing to lack of time, equipments and awareness.

Background

  • Stubble burning became a rampant practice during the Green revolution period when mass production of paddy was enabled in the plains of Punjab and Haryana.
  • Central government constituted the EPCA way back in 1998 in compliance to a Supreme Court order for protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing, controlling and abating environmental pollution.
  • As per the recent World Health Organization (WHO) 2018 pollution report, the Indian capital is among the world’s most polluted cities.
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