Chandigarh: Farm fire incidents crossed the 30,000 mark in Punjab with the state witnessing 2,487 stubble-burning cases on Monday (November 7). With fresh crop residue burning incidents, the cumulative farm fire cases from September 15 to November 7, rose to 32,486, according to the Ludhiana-based Punjab Remote Sensing Centre data. The state reported 57,696 and 37,933 farm fires during the same period in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Out of a total of 2,487 farm fire incidents on Monday, Ferozepur witnessed 353 crop residue burning incidents—the highest in the state, followed by 268 in Moga, 257 in Muktsar, 256 in Batala, 218 in Faridkot, 202 in Barnala, 180 in Sangrur, 177 in Fazilka and 165 in Mansa, according to the data. Punjab had seen 4,716 and 5,199 active fire incidents on November 7 in 2020 and 2021, respectively, as per the data. Currently, the districts in the Malwa region are reporting a rising number of stubble-burning incidents.
Due to stubble burning, many places in Haryana on Monday evening reported air quality indices in ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ categories while Punjab witnessed air quality in ‘moderate’ and ‘poor’ categories.
Haryana’s Faridabad reported its air quality index at 337, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data. Among other areas in Haryana, Jind reported AQI at 323, followed by 316 in Sonipat, 312 in Kaithal, 290 in Gurugram, 273 in Manesar, 225 in Bahadurgarh, 216 in Panipat and 167 in Fatehabad.
In Punjab, Amritsar, Bathinda, Khanna, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Mandi Gobindgarh and Patiala reported their respective AQIs at 105, 200, 158, 225, 153, 120 and 177, as per the data. Union Territory Chandigarh, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, reported its air quality at 175. An AQI between 0-50 is considered “good”, 51-100 “satisfactory”, 101-200 “moderate”, 201-300 “poor”, 301-400 “very poor”, and 401-500 “severe”.
Paddy straw burning in Punjab and Haryana is one of the reasons behind the alarming spike in air pollution levels in the national capital in October and November. As the window for Rabi crop wheat is very short after paddy harvest, farmers set their fields on fire to quickly clear off the crop residue. Punjab generates around 180 lakh tonnes of paddy straw annually. The state recorded 71,304 such fire incidents in 2021, 76,590 in 2020, 55,210 in 2019, 50,590 in 2018, 45,384 in 2017 and 81,042 in 2016.
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