Over 30,000 farm fires in Punjab, air quality worsens

Over 30,000 farm fires in Punjab, air quality worsens

The period between Oct 15 and Nov 15 is considered critical.

Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 4

The state’s air quality touched a new low in many districts of the state following many farm fire cases in the paddy heartlands of Malwa belt.

People complained of uneasiness in breathing in several parts. Smoggy conditions prevailed in many parts of the state on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.

At one point of time on Wednesday morning, Patiala recorded “very poor” air quality at 326 while, at the same time, Delhi air quality was 325.

With over 30,000 farm fires in Punjab, the air quality has taken a hit across the state. “I was travelling home in my car with my family after a function and could not see anything on the road at around 10.30 am,” said Ludhiana resident Naresh Handa.

Similar views were expressed by residents in Patiala, Malerkotla, Khanna and Mandi Gobindgarh. “There was unease in breathing inside the house too. Despite air purifier in my room, it was tough,” said Malerkotla resident Waseem Anwar Khan.

Even as Punjab claims not to be solely responsible for Delhi’s poor air quality, the situation in Patiala, Ludhiana and Mandi Gobindgarh districts is almost similar to that in Delhi. The air quality in these districts is ranging from “moderate” to “poor” with more deterioration likely in the coming days.

The comparative data of the air quality recorded till Tuesday evening shows that Punjab’s average AQI was 255 with Patiala worst with 283, Amritsar 239, Ludhiana and Mandi Gobindgarh at 239 each, Jalandhar 274 and Khanna at 248.

While a reading of 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor and 401-500 is severe.

With much of the Malwa belt yet to go full throttle on stubble burning, the situation is expected to deteriorate further over the next week. The period between October 15 and November 15 is considered critical as most farmers harvest their paddy crop during this period.

Interestingly, the Malwa belt, comprising Patiala, Sangrur and Mansa districts, is yet burn leftover crop stubble as crop harvesting is still under way there. Clearly, the state is in for some really tough days ahead, said Agriculture Department officials.


Patiala AQI worse than Delhi

Patiala recorded “very poor” air quality at 326 while, at the same time, Delhi’s air quality was 325.

AQI of Punjab moderate: PPCB Chairman

  • On Monday, PPCB Chairman AS Marwaha had said that rather than pointing to Punjab for pollution in the national capital, the Delhi authorities should check for internal sources of pollution.
  • He said in case, stubble fires would have been the major reason for poor air, the air in Punjab would have shown similar trends. However, the AQI of Punjab is generally in the moderate range.

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