The air quality in Delhi-NCR is on a constant decline over the past days since Dussehra when there was a sharp increase in the air pollution level due to the bursting of firecrackers even as authorities appealed to have eco-friendly celebrations. However, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said that this was not the only reason and some other factors, including vehicular pollution, construction activities, fall in wind speed and direction of the wind were also responsible for the increasing air pollution.
The latest satellite images released by NASA showed an increasing trend in stubble burning cases across Punjab and Haryana over the past 15 days. According to news agency PTI, authorities have predicted further deterioration of air quality in the coming days.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the 49th edition of his monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on Sunday, addressed the issue of stubble burning in Punjab. He said instead of burning it, it should be cultivated in the field itself. This will not only increase the soil strength but will also help prevent air pollution.
He talked about a farmer from Punjab, Gurbachan Singh, who during his wedding had put one condition before the bride’s family that they would stop burning stubble in the farm. There was strength his Gurbachan Singh’s statement, the prime minister said. He set an example for everyone to follow.
The prime minister also referred to Kallar Majra, a village near Nabha in Punjab’s Patiala district where farmers mix the stubble with the sand by ploughing their fields rather than burning those. They also adopt the necessary technology for the process.
Lauding Gurbachan Singh and the farmers of Nabha, PM Modi said that these are the people who are doing their bit to keep the environment clean and everyone should try to emulate them.
The past week, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan had announced that a criminal case will be lodged against those who violate air pollution standards. He said that initially a warning would be given in the first 48 hours following which a criminal case would be lodged. He said that the decision on the recommendation of the CPCB would be taken if there is no significant improvement in air quality.
Delhi and the National Capital Region, last year struggled with the menace of air pollution right after Diwali. Now that the festival is round the corner and the winter months are approaching, pollution watchdogs and the government are leaving no stone unturned to prevent the city from turning into a gas chamber like it did in November 2017.