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Early harvest, labour unavailability due to pandemic led to more farm fires this time, say officials

New Delhi, October 17

Punjab and Haryana have recorded extra incidents of stubble burning this season to date in comparison with final 12 months and it’s largely as a consequence of early harvesting of paddy and unavailability of farm labour because of the coronavirus pandemic, officers mentioned on Saturday.

Based on the Punjab Air pollution Management Board, the state has recorded 4,585 farm fires this season to date in comparison with 1,631 such incidents throughout the corresponding interval final 12 months.

Haryana has additionally recorded a rise in farm fires—from round 1,200 incidents until October 16 final 12 months to 2,016 this 12 months.

Karunesh Garg, Member Secretary of the Punjab Air pollution Management Board, nonetheless, mentioned the variety of stubble burning incidents appear giant due to early harvesting of paddy this 12 months.

“Round 17 lakh metric tonnes of paddy was harvested until October 15 final 12 months. This 12 months, the determine is round 40 lakh metric tonnes. It reveals that farmers harvested their crop early this 12 months,” he mentioned.

The monsoon season continued till September-end final 12 months, delaying harvesting of paddy, Garg mentioned.

Earlier this week, Union Surroundings Minister Prakash Javadekar had requested Punjab to manage stubble burning after air high quality within the nationwide capital hit “very poor” ranges.

Garg mentioned it was unsuitable responsible Punjab for Delhi’s unhealthy air.

“Stubble burning in Punjab could also be an element however its contribution to Delhi’s air pollution is lower than one per cent,” he asserted.

An official from the Haryana authorities mentioned the variety of farm fires within the state has “definitely elevated” as in comparison with final 12 months. “It may be attributed to the unavailability of farm labour because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

S Narayanan, member secretary of the Haryana Air pollution Management Board, mentioned, “The variety of farm fires, to date, is greater than final 12 months… Perhaps it is because of early harvesting. So, it’s too early to foretell whether or not we are going to find yourself burning extra stubble than final 12 months.”

“Most farm fires happen in Sirsa, Fatehabad and Kaithal. The administration has not been capable of utterly management stubble burning in these areas. Efforts are on.”

Based on the System of Air High quality and Climate Forecasting And Analysis (SAFAR), the contribution of farm fires to Delhi’s PM2.5 focus rose from round 6 per cent on Thursday to 18 per cent on Friday.

On Saturday, it’s estimated to be round 19 per cent, SAFAR mentioned. It was solely round one per cent on Wednesday and round three per cent on Tuesday, Monday and Sunday.

The Central Air pollution Management Board (CPCB) had Friday mentioned meteorological circumstances in Delhi have been “extraordinarily unfavourable” for dispersion of pollution since this September as in comparison with final 12 months.

With much less space beneath non-basmati paddy cultivation this time, CPCB Member Secretary Prashant Gargava hoped the variety of stubble burning incidents can be fewer this 12 months in comparison with 2019.

Non-basmati paddy straw is taken into account ineffective as fodder due to its excessive silica content material and so farmers burn it.

Gargava additionally mentioned stubble burning peak won’t coincide with the height of opposed meteorological circumstances this 12 months as a consequence of early harvesting of paddy.

With Delhi-NCR bracing for months of poor air high quality, specialists have warned that prime ranges of air air pollution can worsen the COVID-19 scenario. Extreme air air pollution in Delhi is a year-round downside, which may be attributed to unfavourable meteorological circumstances, farm fires in neighbouring areas and native sources of air pollution.

Based on an evaluation by the Council on Vitality, Surroundings and Water, a Delhi-based suppose tank, transportation contributes essentially the most—18 to 39 per cent—to Delhi’s air air pollution. Street mud is the second-largest supply of air air pollution within the metropolis (18 to 38 per cent), adopted by industries (2 to 29 per cent), thermal energy vegetation (three to 11 per cent) and building (eight per cent). PTI 

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