Burning Agricultural Waste: Heavy penalty for polluting the air
3 weeks ago Shruti Goel 0
After harvesting, farmers set their paddy fields on fire. This practice is more prevalent mainly in three states of Northern India which are Punjab, Haryana, and Western UP. The firing fields burn around generating a large amount of smoke. This smoke gets carried away by wind, all the way to Delhi and beyond. It adds all the suspended particulate matter (SPM) in the air which is harmful to lungs. The noxious substances and the SPM clog the lungs.
According to an Economic Survey, around 35 million tonnes of rice paddy was burnt in the late October. It became the reason for the polluted air in Delhi and NCR regions in the winters. The people were found struggling to breathe through the smoke and were forced to smile from behind the masks.
The survey suggests to impose a heavy penalty for burning agricultural waste, and also to increase the incentives for farmers in order to prevent the poor air quality in Delhi and adjoining areas. Implementation of heavy pricing, increasing the number of public buses, retiring out of old vehicles, and coordination across the agencies and the government are some of the methods of preventing the city from turning into a gas chamber.
Burning of firecrackers during Diwali, and moving of the fumes from the burning fields are the major reasons behind the poor air quality of Delhi. Effective suggestions given by the National Green Tribunal, the Supreme Court and others soon need to be brought into action. Strict enforcement of heavy penalties on the burning of agricultural waste and payment of incentives to farmers is the need of the hour.
Apart from these, increasing amount of vehicles in the city is another major problem adding up to the deduction in the air quality. The emissions from vehicles add about 23-28 percent from trucks, buses, cars, three-wheelers, and two-wheelers. However, particulates of diesel hold a larger share and are much more dangerous.
Construction activities going on in and around the NCR areas add up to the pollution in the air by the mixing of dust particles.
Use of Technology
In order to constrain the air pollution, suggested ways by the survey are observed to make use of some technology. They are planning on the conversion of agricultural waste into concentrated fodder which can be reused or bio-fuels. They are planning on the development and implementation of business models with private sector and communities. Incentives are also to be provided for shifting the non-paddy crops, among others.
Upon observing various reports, it has been found that Delhi accounts for one the unhealthiest cities in the world in terms of air pollution.