Delhi to face heavy pollution as crop burning in nearby states begins

New Delhi: Last year there were several instances of heavy smog in Delhi. The severe condition arose due to the crop burning in the nearby states. Winters are around the corner, and Delhi is already facing the consequences.

Over a dozen cases of crop burning were reported from Haryana till Wednesday, and officials fear the number will rise drastically in the coming days. This, in turn, would trigger heavy pollution in NCR.

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“We came across 14 confirmed cases of crop burning since September 22. While 12 cases occurred in Karnal on Wednesday, one instance each was reported from Panipat and Kaithal earlier,” said S Narayanan, member secretary of Haryana Pollution Control Board.

According to a report by Hindustan Times, teams have been sent to verify crop burning incidents as soon as fires show up on satellite images, he said.

The farmers in northern India burn millions of tonnes of stubble every October before the onset of winter. An estimated 35 million tonnes are set afire in Punjab and Haryana alone to grow winter crop.

Experts say stubble burning is responsible for 12% and 60% of Delhi’s air pollution. The primary reasons are cost concerns, the short time gap between summer/winter crops, besides lack of incentives and equipment to manually cut down the stubble.

Although the National Green Tribunal banned the practice in 2015, implementing the order has turned out to be a difficult task.