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Business News/ News / India/  Delhi, Punjab, Haryana continue to face severe AQI with the onset of peak stubble burning season: Top Developments
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Delhi, Punjab, Haryana continue to face severe AQI with the onset of peak stubble burning season: Top Developments

Northwest India experiences an increase in farm fires due to stubble burning, leading to a decline in air quality. The government implements pollution control policies to combat the issue but the situation is expected to remain the same until November 15.

With a spike in stubble burning cases, the air quality in some Punjab districts has deteriorated to “poor” and “very poor” category. (HT_PRINT)Premium
With a spike in stubble burning cases, the air quality in some Punjab districts has deteriorated to “poor” and “very poor” category. (HT_PRINT)

With the onset of peak stubble-burning season in northwest India, there has been an uptick in cases of farm fires in Punjab and Haryana. Excessive smoke produced from rampant paddy straw burning has led to a massive decline in air quality in regions of Delhi-NCR, Punjab, and Haryana. 

In response to severe air pollution, the centre implemented the final phase of the pollution control policy (GRAP 4) in Delhi on Sunday. For better implementation of GRAP 4, the state government imposed a ban on the entry of polluting trucks, BS 4 vehicles, etc. These measures are likely to bring some relief in the coming days. However, the situation of air pollution is likely to remain the same in the city till November 15. Notably, the period from Nov 1 to Nov 15 is the peak season of paddy harvesting and farm fires.

To bring down the number of farm fires, the Punjab and Haryana governments are opting for different measures from imposing fines to sprinkling water. However, there is no respite in stubble burning and its impact on air pollution in the two states. Apart from the national capital, several districts of Haryana and Punjab witnessed a drastic decline in the air quality index (AQI). 

Severe air pollution in Punjab

There has been a significant decline in air quality in Punjab. Several districts of the state witnessed an AQI close to 300 and even 400. According to Central Pollution Control Board data, Bathinda recorded an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 375, Mandi Gobindgarh 291, Khanna 255, Patiala 248, and Ludhiana 243, reported PTI.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'.

Poor AQI in Haryana

Several districts of Haryana recorded air quality in ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ categories. Faridabad recorded an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 450, followed by Fatehabad 442, Kaithal 434, Hisar 427, Gurugram 402, Jind 401, Sirsa 390, Rohtak 362, Panipat 346, Kurukshetra 330 and Karnal 319, reported news agency PTI citing CPCB data.

The joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh recorded an AQI of 212.

Punjab reports highest number of farm fires in a day on Nov 5

On Sunday, Punjab reported 3,230 farm fires, the highest in a day so far this season, while the air quality in large parts of Haryana was recorded in 'very poor' and 'severe' categories.

Even though stubble burning continues to be a leading factor behind Delhi, Punjab, and Haryana's air pollution, there has been a significant control in this farm practice since last year. 

According to the Centre's Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), there has been a substantial decrease in stubble-burning incidents in Punjab and Haryana between September 15 to October 29. The two states emerged victorious against the problem of stubble burning after the practice declined around 56 percent and 40 percent, respectively, compared to the same period last year.

However, the victory is shot-lived as these agrarian states have experienced a notable increase in farm fires in the last few days, with 1,852 incidents on October 30; 2,901 on October 31; and 2,386 on November 1.

With the 3,230 fresh farm fires, the total number of stubble-burning incidents in Punjab so far this season stands at 17,403, according to Punjab Remote Sensing Centre data.

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Published: 05 Nov 2023, 10:05 PM IST
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