Ahead of the harvest season, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has asked Delhi and the neighboring states to ensure the adoption and application of a standard protocol developed by ISRO for estimating crop residue fire events using satellite data.
The commission, tasked with devising and executing plans to prevent and control air pollution in the national capital and adjacent areas, has also asked Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan to develop a time-bound comprehensive action plan, in consultation with stakeholder agencies responsible under the protocol for monitoring and reporting agricultural residue burnings.
Meeting with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) at a meeting in December last year, the committee had emphasized the need to develop and implement a standardized methodology in NCR and adjacent areas for monitoring fire events.
The protocol has been prepared in consultation with stakeholders such as State Remote Sensing Centers and the Indian Agricultural Research Institute.
“Now, therefore, in view of the imperative need to monitor and control air pollution from stubble combustion, the commission… hereby instructs the Government of NCT of Delhi to ensure the adoption and application of the standard fire event estimation protocol of crop residues using satellite data,” the directions read.
The commission said the protocol should be adopted uniformly in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi, and not limited to Punjab and Haryana alone.
The Air Quality Panel has also asked these states to submit a compliance report on the approval of the protocol by August 30.
The northern states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh attract attention during the paddy harvest season between October 15 and November 15.
Farmers set fire to their fields to quickly clear the crop residues left behind after harvesting and for growing wheat and potato. It is one of the main reasons for the alarming spike in pollution in Delhi-NCR.
Despite a ban on stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, farmers continue to defy it because there is a short period between harvesting paddy rice and sowing wheat.
The high cost of manual or mechanical management of straw is a major reason farmers choose to incinerate it.
State governments provide 50 to 80 percent grants to farmers and co-ops to purchase modern farm equipment for in-situ paddystro management, install paddystro-based power plants, and conduct a mass awareness campaign against stubble burning.
But these measures have not yet had a significant impact on the field.
According to a recent study by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), a Delhi-based not-for-profit policy research institute, a relatively longer stubble burning period and unfavorable meteorological conditions were mainly responsible for the deteriorating air quality in Delhi. in the winter of last year.
The analysis showed that the contribution of stubble burning to Delhi’s PM2.5 levels for seven days (between October 10 and November 25) was more than 30 percent in 2020, compared to three days in 2019.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)