Farm fires rage on: Stakeholders not doing enough to curb menace - The Tribune India

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Farm fires rage on

Stakeholders not doing enough to curb menace

Farm fires rage on

Picture for representational purpose only.



The Supreme Court has sought affidavits from the governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan regarding the steps taken to reduce air pollution in the national capital. The court has observed that air pollution persists in Delhi despite the remedial measures being taken by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), a statutory body that was set up in 2021 with the objective of formulating strategies to make Delhi-NCR’s air breathable in October and November — the months that witness the burning of paddy stubble by farmers. While the spotlight is on Delhi’s highly toxic air, which is caused by an array of contributory factors, parts of Punjab are witnessing an alarming deterioration in the air quality due to the prevalence of farm fires in the paddy harvesting season.

Among the major paddy-growing states, Punjab has recorded the highest number of farm fires this season, followed by poll-bound Madhya Pradesh. With the Lok Sabha elections barely six months away, state governments are unwilling to incur the wrath of farmers by penalising them for setting their fields ablaze. Unfortunately, electoral considerations are taking precedence over environmental and health concerns, even as efforts to incentivise farmers for discontinuing stubble burning have been half-hearted at best.

The CAQM’s contention that the count of stubble burning incidents in Punjab and Haryana during a 45-day period (September 15 to October 29) has gone down by around 56 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, compared to the corresponding period last year, offers little solace at a time when lakhs of people, including farmers, are getting exposed to polluted air. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the specialised cancer agency of the WHO, air pollution is carcinogenic to humans. The health hazard has been identified as a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths. Punjab’s Malwa region is already grappling with a high incidence of cancer cases. Banking on favourable weather conditions to provide a respite from the choking air reeks of abdication of responsibility. The problem must be dealt with on a war footing by all stakeholders. 

#Agriculture #Environment #Farm Fires #Pollution #Rajasthan #Supreme Court #Uttar Pradesh


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