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WBPCB looks to cut down on stubble burning in districts

WBPCB looks to cut down on stubble burning in districts
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Kolkata: To prevent the burning of stubble in the districts, West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) got in touch with the state Agriculture department, to add an instrument with the harvesting equipments which were made optional two years ago.

On Tuesday, in a programme organised by the WBPCB to celebrate the World Environment Day, Additional Chief Secretary of the state Environment and Forest department Indevar Pandey stated that burning of stubble is an area of concern in Burdwan and Hooghly districts.

The trend has increased in the last two years as the addition of the baler machine to the harvesting equipment has been made optional. Two years ago, it was mandatory to attach the baler machine with the harvesting equipment, or use it separately to remove the stubble.

"Burning of stubble is a major problem as it increases pollution. Two years ago this was made optional. But now we feel that this should be made mandatory. For this we have asked the Agriculture department to do the needful to provide the said baler machine at a subsidised rate to the farmers," said Pandey.

He also stated that during the winter season between the months of October and March, pollution level in and around Kolkata gets high. Sometimes it even crosses Delhi, which is said to be the most polluted city. This happens due to the increase of Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 which affects human lung operations directly. However, PM 10 concentration in the air has been brought down to tolerable levels.

Chairman of WBPCB Kalyan Rudra admitted that despite their relentless efforts, they have failed to bring PM 2.5 levels within safe range. To measure the pollution level, WBPCB has installed five new monitoring stations equipped with advanced automatic machines, which will provide real-time information which will be displayed using display boards.

The five stations are located in Jadavpur, Rabindra Sarobar, Belur, Birla Industrial and Technological Museum (BITM) and inside Fort William.

Apart from monitoring the pollution level, WBPCB is also mulling to launch a smartphone application to make people aware about pollution and the dos and don'ts to prevent it.

According to Rajesh Kumar, member secretary of WBPCB, people can also inform about irregularities and violations which may pollute the environment, through the app. It is similar to the applications launched by several police units for the citizens.

"This will help us reach more people. Through this app not only can people monitor the pollution level, but also inform us about violation of environmental norms. It has been proposed. I hope it will come into force soon," said Kumar.

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