Tue. May 21st, 2024

The fields of Punjab are once again engulfed in smoke and toxic air as stubble-burning returns ahead of winter. Despite promises from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab to control the practice, it appears that no effective measures have been taken to prevent it. Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who considers himself the “son of a farmer,” had even met with farmer leaders to discourage stubble burning and claimed that many panchayats in Punjab had passed resolutions against it. However, these efforts seem to have had little impact.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal had expressed hope that stubble-burning incidents would decrease in the future. He even acknowledged the shared responsibility of the Punjab and Delhi governments in tackling the issue. However, this year’s crop residue burning in Punjab suggests that little progress has been made.

Farmers in Punjab cite reasons such as the lack of access to crushing machines like bailers and seeders, as well as the high cost of alternative crops, as contributing factors to their continued reliance on stubble burning. They claim that they are not the sole culprits behind air pollution but are also victims of the problem.

Although the number of farm fire cases has decreased in the past two years, a significant number of acres were still set ablaze last year. This year, there has been an increase in stubble-burning incidents, with more than 845 cases reported between September and October.

The decline in air quality is evident in Delhi as well, where the air quality index has shifted from “poor” to “very poor” category. The particulate matter PM2.5 levels are 60 times higher than the World Health Organisation’s safe limit. As a result, the graded action response plan (GARP) level 1 has been implemented, leading to a ban on coal and firewood and restrictions on truck traffic in the city.

These alarming conditions call for urgent action to address the issue of stubble burning and its detrimental effects on air quality. The AAP government in Punjab must take effective measures to prevent further farm fires and protect the health of its residents. Additionally, collaborative efforts between the Punjab and Delhi governments are crucial in resolving this pressing concern.

By admin