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NASA image shows rise in stubble burning

NASA image shows rise in stubble burning

NEW DELHI: Stubble-burning in Punjab has reached its peak for this year, according to fire count data from the Aqua-MODIS satellite of the US space agency NASA.

The farm fires began in October in the neighbouring Haryana, where the burning cycle has nearly reached its end. In Punjab, however, it is currently at an annual high. Meanwhile, as a bad news for the Delhiites, the officials of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) noted that the wind speed has decreased which would obstruct the air movement, hence the pollution might increase.

This year, the peak of the stubble burning has coincided with Diwali, India's most popular Hindu festival, which was celebrated on November 7 with plenty of fireworks as usual. To keep pollution in check, the Supreme Court had ordered a partial ban on the bursting of firecrackers, but it was mostly observed in its breach. A day before Diwali, the NASA satellite captured over 700 incidents of stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana.

Talking to the Millennium Post, Anumita Roy Chowdhury of the Center for Science and Environment said, "The stubble burning problem picks up in November first week. The same thing has happened and the wind speed is really low which has made the situation worse. However, the share of pollution through the crackers are much higher but the fact is all these external factors are dangerous for Delhi." She added that the air pollution here is a combination of a rapid increase in pollution sources due to unplanned urbanisation and the geographical disadvantage that is landlocked which makes this region extremely vulnerable to winter inversion leading to massive fall in the air quality.

Sayantan Ghosh

Sayantan Ghosh

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