Stubble burning and pollution could worsen the Covid situation in Delhi-NCR
According to health experts, a huge scale of stubble burning could compound the Covid-19 crisis in northern states; particularly the Delhi-NCR area as it’s facing a smoky and hazy atmosphere every year winter. The Central Pollution Control Board is preparing to check on environmental pollution violators.
Along with its new Micro Level Action Plan, the CPCB is likewise making new rules. This includes increasing the number of measures like deploying anti-smog guns, field inspections, and minimizing construction projects and industries to control excess pollution in winter.
Although stricter measures including a ban on electricity generators, and stopping metro construction work, the air quality in the region became poorer on Oct 15.
NASA’s satellite image also showed a huge area with farm fire near Patiala, Amritsar, Firozpur, and Tarn Taran in Punjab, and Rajpura and Ambala in Haryana indicating an increase in stubble burning over the region.
On Friday, The Supreme Court had appointed former SC Justice Madan B Lokur, a one-man panel to observe the issue of air pollution in Delhi-NCR. SC has granted him powers to take further steps to check Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh to control stubble burning, which adds to Delhi’s worst air quality.
Data from India’s MET department shows a sharp rise in farm fires in the states of Haryana and Punjab, with 3,517 occurrences till October 15 in this harvest season, contrasted with last year’s 33%.
However, due to poor air quality, Delhi has witnessed an increase in the number of patients suffering from respiratory and breathing difficulties in Nov 2019. The Physicians in Delhi hospitals and health care centers had advised residents, particularly kids and elderly people to remain indoors as much as possible.
AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria also stated that most patients were complaining about persistent cough, watery eyes, burning in eyes, breathing difficulty, allergies, and exacerbation of asthma, bronchitis, and also chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD).”
Regarding the terrible air quality in NCR, the Union environmental minister Prakash Javadekar attributed the ascent in pollution in the Capital to nearby factors, following which Delhi CM tweeted that “remaining in denial won’t help”.
The Supreme Court’s decision was welcomed by the Delhi state government with Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) representative Saurabh Bhardwaj saying at a press meet: “We welcome the decision of Supreme Court in the pollution and stubble burning issue. The making of a committee proves that stubble burning is the fundamental reason for the rising poor quality of air in Delhi.”
On Thursday, CM Kejriwal launched a new anti-pollution campaign in which motorists will be encouraged to turn off vehicle engines while waiting at the traffic signal. The ‘Red Light On, Gaadi Off’ drive is expected to bring a behavioral change in society. It will also help in decreasing air pollution,” he expressed.