India / 44% increase in stubble burning cases in Punjab since 2019: Centre to SC

Zoom News : Dec 17, 2020, 08:43 PM
New Delhi: Stubble burning cases in Punjab have increased by over 44 per cent this year compared to 2019, according to a report submitted to the Supreme Court by the Centre.

The report also said stubble burning has come down by 25 per cent in Haryana in 2020.

The detailed comparative analysis for 2019-2020 is part of the Centre’s affidavit that it filed Wednesday in response to the top court’s direction to enlist the steps taken by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), constituted to tackle air pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR).

After this commission was set up in October, the central government had dissolved the decades-old Supreme Court-constituted Environment Protection Control Authority (EPCA).

On the steps taken by the newly-established commission, the Centre submitted details of the meetings convened to review measures and deliberate on proposals regarding steps that need to be taken to improve the air quality of Delhi-NCR.

It said the commission has taken inputs from various stakeholders, including NGOs, on measures that can be taken to mitigate paddy residue burning.

Contribution of stubble burning this year to Delhi’s PM levels was 42%

In Punjab, there are six districts that continue to be highest contributor to stubble burning, said the report. These are Sangrur, Bathinda, Ferozepur, Moga, Ludhiana and Mukstar.

All six have seen an increase in stubble burning incidents since 2019. In Sangrur, there was a spike of 45 per cent. Bathinda fires surged by 34 per cent, while Ferozepur incidents went up by 38 per cent this year. Moga, Ludhiana and Fazilka districts have recorded more than 70 per cent increase in active stubble burning incidents.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) model of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, the estimated maximum contribution of stubble burning to PM levels in Delhi between October and December was 25 per cent, 36 per cent and 44 per cent in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively.

In 2020, the contribution level so far has been 42 per cent, the report said.