The first six days of October have witnessed a surge in the farm fire incidents in three northern states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh signifying the onset of the stubble burning season. According to the data compiled by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), located in Delhi, October observed five times more stubble burning incidents as compared to last year.
Furthermore, of all the 1,091 cases of crop stubble burning recorded in the three states from October 1–6, the numbers have been the highest for these dates since 2016.
As a result, Delhi's air quality is likely to deteriorate in the upcoming days. The National Capital's fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is increasing and it will most likely be responsible for the poor air quality.
This air pollutant PM 2.5 can penetrate deep into the lungs and bloodstream. It can even reduce visibility and cause the air to appear hazy when levels are elevated.
This is the season for farmers of Punjab and Haryana to burn paddy stubble before they prepare the soil for the rabi crop. Every winter, fumes from burning crop stubble results in air pollution over Delhi and large parts of the Indo-Gangetic plain.
As per data collected by IARI’s Consortium for Research on Agroecosystem Monitoring and Modelling from Space (CREAMS) Laboratory with satellite remote sensing technology, reported that the largest number of stubble burning events during October this year took place in Punjab (841) which is more than ten times the number of such cases on these dates in 2019 (79).
This year in Punjab, 342 cases of residue burning events were found in Amritsar district and Tarn Taran observed 205 cases. In Haryana, Kurukshetra observed 56 incidents followed by Karnal 38 incidents. Uttar Pradesh had scattered events.
Additionally, the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences has also predicted a worsening of air quality in Delhi soon due to the spike in the burning of stubble in Haryana and Punjab.
The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), stated, “The overall Delhi AQI (air quality index) is in the higher end of the moderate category as forecasted, and is likely to touch the poor category by late tonight. AQI is forecasted to deteriorate for the next 3 days and forecasted to remain in the POOR category with increasing magnitude until 10th October.”
(Edited by : Ajay Vaishnav)