Farm fires: Focus on worst offenders Tech intervention needed to tackle menace: Experts
IIT-D Study Identifies 8 Districts In Punjab, 3 In Haryana
New Delhi: A study by IIT-Delhi researchers has stated that eight districts in Punjab and three in Haryana should be given priority for intervention by the government to reign in the stubble burning menace.
While the districts in Punjab — Amritsar, Firozpur, Ludhiana, Faridkot, Bathinda, Mansa, Patiala and Sangrur — contribute to nearly 45% of the total stubble burning emission, Kaithal, Hisar and Sirsa in Haryana add another 17%.
The study conducted by Sagnik Dey, associate professor, Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, IIT-Delhi, and coordinator, Centre of Excellence for Research on Clean Air (CERCA), classified stubble burning in north Indian states as intense, rampant, limited and large smoldering. Using satellite data, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) fire count (from a height of 1km) and Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite fire count (from a height of 375m), the researchers observed a few intense fires in Hoshiarpur (Punjab), Panipat and Sirsa (Haryana).
Rampant burning was observed in Ludhiana, Firozpur, Moga, Patiala, Faridkot, Bathinda, Muktsar, Mansa and Fatehgarh Sahib in Punjab and Fatehabad and Hisar in Haryana. Limited burning took place in Gurdaspur, Rupnagar, Panchkula and Nawanshahr in Punjab and Faridabad, Gurgaon, Jhajjar, Bhiwani, Rohtak, Sonipat, Jind, Kaithal, Karnal and Kurukshetra in Haryana. Large smoldering fires were seen in Amritsar and Jalandhar in Punjab.
“Rather than uniformly distributing the resources, these districts or villages need to be prioritised and given more attention. We need to understand the local factors that are forcing the farmers to burn the stubble, especially in the villages or districts where it hasn’t shown any decline in recent years,” Dey told TOI.
The main objective of the study, done in collaboration with Shruti Kumar and her team at McKinsey & Co, was to prioritise districts where things were not going as per expectations and which were contributing more to Delhi’s pollution load.
“A 2018 report by The Energy and Resources Institute showed that open biomass burning contributes 20-25% to PM2.5 in Delhi. However, we must also keep in mind that stubble burning is only a seasonal issue occurring during October and November,” Dey said, adding that the last three years have shown a declining trend, which is a positive sign.
Most farmers in north India prepare their fields for the wheat crop in October-November by burning the stubble left after rice has been harvested. They plough the fields and sow wheat using conventional seeders. Due to stubble burning, 30kg of nitrogen per hectare, 13.8kg of phosphorus, 30kg of potassium, 6.5kg sulphur, 2,400kg carbon and several useful microbial organisms get perished in the fire, besides resulting in pollution. New Delhi: Important technological interventions are much needed for better results in tackling stubble burning menace, experts and officials said on Friday at a conference on ‘Stubble Burning — Findings, Ground Issues and Policy Perspectives’, organised by the Centre of Excellence for Research On Clean Air (CERCA), IIT Delhi.
According to SK Goyal, senior principal scientist and head of NEERI Delhi, contribution to the city’s air pollution by Punjab and Haryana is limited and regional activities are more responsible. “There is a need for a business model to eliminate this issue. The scientific community should come up with firm conclusion after confirming facts and figures with 360 degrees of evaluation of the situation and problem,” Goyal said.
Jitendra Kumar, advisor, NITI Aayog, said the planning body is closely monitoring all schemes and programmes and working with state governments to address this issue.
“One of the possible solutions which can be insitu or exsitu is converting stubble into bio-fertiliser. All IITs and other technological institutions should work on the idea of turning waste into value,” Kumar said.
The Union ministry of agriculture recently stated that the number of stubble burning incidents had reduced by 41% in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in 2018 compared to 2016.
The Centre has set aside Rs 1,151.80 crore to combat crop
One of the possible solutions which can be insitu or exsitu is converting stubble into bio-fertiliser
burning by subsidising farm equipment like Happy Seeder, Zero Till Seed-cum-Fertilizer Drill, Mulcher and Reversible Plough, among other initiatives. It has also released Rs 584.33 crore to Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in 2018-19 fiscal, to distribute these machines to farmers.
Punjab agriculture department secretary KS Pannu pointed out that at the moment there is no method except in-situ management, which is significantly helpful in stubble management.
STUBBLE BURNING Districts that need to be tackled on priority Few intense burning | Hoshiarpur | Sirsa THEY DID START THE FIRE Panipat Rampant burning Ludhiana | Firozpur | Moga | Patiala | Faridkot | Bathinda | Muktsar | Mansa | Fatehbad | Fatehgarh Sahib | Hisar Large smouldering Amritsar | Jalandhar Limited burning Gurdaspur | Rupnagar | Panchkula | Nawanshahr Faridabad | Gurgaon | Jhajjar | Bhiwani | Rohtak | Sonipat | Jind | Kaithal | Karnal | Kurukshetra TIMES NEWS NETWORK