No let-up in farm fires, city turns most polluted in state : The Tribune India

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No let-up in farm fires, city turns most polluted in state

36 more stubble burning cases take season’s tally to 444

No let-up in farm fires, city turns most polluted in state

Stubble burning cases have witnessed a sudden spike in Ludhiana. Photo: Ashwani Dhiman

Tribune News Service

Nitin Jain

Ludhiana, May 16

With no let-up in farm fire cases, Ludhiana turned into the most polluted city in the state on Thursday.

Following 36 fresh cases of stubble burning reported during the past 48 hours, the season’s tally has gone up to 444, which was still the lowest-ever so far.

While 14 crop residue burning incidents were captured in the state’s biggest and largest district, in terms of area and population, on Thursday, 22 such cases were spotted on Wednesday.

Even as the air quality index (AQI) in Ludhiana on Thursday became “unhealthy” from the “very unhealthy” category registered on Wednesday, the industrial and business capital of the state was ranked as the most polluted city in Punjab.

The AQI level in Ludhiana was recorded at 158 on Thursday, which was the worst across the state. However, it was better than 226 on Wednesday, when the city was ranked second most polluted in the state after Mohali with the highest AQI of 230.

Among other nine most polluted cities on Thursday, Amritsar stood second with AQI 153, followed by Mohali 138, Jalandhar 134, Ropar 126, Khanna in Ludhiana 103, Patiala 100, Mandi Gobindgarh 94, Mullanpur also in Ludhiana 79, and Bathinda 44.

As the current wheat harvesting season, popularly known as Rabi, was over with a total crop over 2,45,200 hectares already harvested, farm fires have seen a sudden spurt in Ludhiana district during the past few days.

The gravity of the spike could be gauged from the fact that as many as 368 of the total 444 stubble burning cases in the state’s biggest and largest district, in terms of area and population, have been reported during the past seven days.

This season’s tally so far was still the lowest-ever in the past nine years.

The sharp decline in the stubble burning cases this year was evident from the fact that Ludhiana had never reported less than 517 incidents of farm fires with the highest going up to 1,035 during the Rabi season since 2016.

Ludhiana’s farm fires during the paddy harvesting in winters, popularly known as Kharif season, had also never gone below 1,801 in 2023 and had touched the high of 7,697 in 2016.

On Thursday, as many as 529 farm fires were captured across 23 districts in the state, with a maximum of 24 cases reported in Amritsar, and minimum of one incident each was noted in Fazilka, Ferozepur, and Pathankot.

Among other districts, Barnala had reported seven stubble burning cases on Thursday, Bathinda two, Fatehgarh Sahib four, Faridkot three, Gurdaspur 17, Hoshiarpur 10, Malerkotla two, Jalandhar nine, Kapurthala three, Mansa three, Moga 11, Muktsar two, Nawanshahr seven, Patiala three, Ropar two, Sangrur five, and Tarn Taran had captured 12 incidents of farm fires on May 16.

The AQI of 158, which was considered “unhealthy”, with PM2.5 concentration in Ludhiana air currently 13 times above the World Health Organisation (WHO) annual air quality guideline value, has been leading to respiratory and allied problems to residents, especially th aged and children.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Agriculture #Environment #Farm Fires #Pollution #Stubble Burning

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