Modi talks about Delhi’s smog in ‘Mann ki Baat’
The smog enveloping the national Capital due to burning of crops in the neighbouring Punjab and Haryana has even worried Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who talked about the issue in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on Sunday.
In the 14 edition of his monthly radio programme, the Prime Minister emphasised that checking global warming is everyone’s responsibility and urged farmers not to burn the remains of crops but use them in a profitable way.
“The upper fertile crest of the earth is burnt when you burn the crop remains. It’s like your skin is burnt, while all the vital organs remain safe,” said Modi to farmers.
The PM was referring to a farmer named Lakhwinder Singh from Jalandhar, who had asked Modi about how to guide farmers who put their fields to fire. The Prime Minister urged the farmers to use these remains as manure for the next crop by burring them on the land or if not feasible collect them in a pit and use earthworms to make highly fertile compost.
“The farmers have been burning crop remains for years. But as the bad effects are reaching cities, voices against the tradition are increasing,” he asserted.
Modi also cited examples of banana farmers, who have started using banana trunks as a profitable material. “Earlier, banana farmers used to spend money to remove trunks from the field for new crop, but now they bury it in the same field and it fulfils water requirement of the new crop for around three months,” he said.
The PM also urged agricultural scientists to educate farmers in the country about nature-friendly and profitable farming.
Modi also expressed his concern over untimely rain in Tamil Nadu and assured to help the state government in carrying out relief and redevelopment works.
The burning of crop remains in neighbouring states has caused a serious environment concern in Delhi, which is facing high air pollution level. A large number of vehicles, particularly diesel-run trucks, add to the pollution level, he said.
In November, Delhi’s air quality index had dramatically dropped by 60-80 points and even entered in ‘very poor’ zone and children were advised not to spend time outdoors.
A satellite image from NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) website had showed ‘fire spots’, which denote blazes on the ground, across Punjab and parts of northern Haryana. Crops are mainly burnt during October and early November as farmers ready their fields for the sowing of the winter (rabi) crop.
“It would have been better if the PM had requested farmers not to burn the crop residues before the season. He should make a similar request next year to make it effective,” said a senior officer in the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in Delhi.
According to scientists, a lower atmosphere boundary does not allow pollutants to disperse into the higher levels of the atmosphere. In such conditions, once pollutants enter an area, they remain trapped close to the ground.