EPCA asks Punjab and Haryana to act against stubble burning

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority wrote to the Chief Secretaries of Punjab and Haryana asking them to control cases of crop stubble burning.

“EPCA has been monitoring progress with you on the implementation of the different measures in the past two months and has also worked out the clear benchmarks and targets that need to be achieved before the coming season. We would now request that these steps are taken with urgency,” Lal said in his letter. The letter added, “We recognize that we have lost time because of Covid-19, but given that the winter season is now fast approaching, we need to tackle this with urgency and ensure compliance.”

“NASA had started observing early instances of crop residue burning is some districts of Punjab and Haryana. Recordings show that such instances had progressively been increasing from September 13, but had seen a spike over the last five days”, as reported by Hindustan Times.

According to Delhi government data, in 2019, stubble burning accounted for 44% of air pollution in the national capital. “We have marked 38 villages that will be intensely monitored. Till now, we have not observed any instances of stubble burning on the ground. We are hoping that the cases will be less this year. We have seen over the past few years that cases have progressively been reducing every year,” said S Narayanan, member secretary, Haryana Pollution Control Board.

In Haryana, 1.24 million tonnes out of 7 million tonnes of paddy crop residue was burnt. In Punjab last year, 9.8 million tonnes out of 20 million tonnes of paddy crop residue was burnt. In 2019, as many as 50,738 cases of stubble burning were recorded by the State Pollution Control Board.

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