Tue, 19 Nov 2019

Amritsar (Punjab) [India], Oct 18 (ANI): Despite a ban by the Punjab government, incidents of stubble burning have not abated in the nearby areas of Amritsar. Scores of farmers here have been burning crop residue, causing air pollution in the nearby states, while claiming that they lack alternatives.

"We are forced to burn crop residue as we do not have proper machines to dispose off this. Do not blame us for increasing air pollution. The government has not provided any alternative to us. They must also shut down the factories which are running day and night are causing smoke and water pollution in the region," said Balwinder Singh Chadda, a farmer.

Magad Singh, another farmer also narrated his ordeal and said, "We only burn crops for 15 days. What about the rest of the year. In Ludhiana also, there is so much pollution. The government must close the factories. They keep blaming us for the causing air pollution but so far has not done anything to help us."It is believed that the smoke generated from the stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana are responsible for the spike of air pollution in Delhi and its adjoining regions.

Today, the air quality index (AQI) in the national capital was at 259, which falls in the very poor category, according to Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

Last month, NASA satellite images recorded several incidents of farm fires across Haryana and Punjab, indicating that the stubble burning season had started in the two states.

To combat the menace of air pollution, the Arvind Kejriwal-led government in Delhi has announced the implementation of the Odd-Even scheme from November 4 to 15, 2019, stating that the smog from the nearby states due to the burning of crop residue is the major cause of pollution in the region.

On a closer look, farmers residing in Haryana and Punjab usually burn the crop residue after harvesting paddy in the autumn season in order to clear the fields for summer harvest. Smoke from these two states travels to the national capital each year, leading to a spike in the air pollution levels. (ANI)

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