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More stubble burning recorded this year: EPCA

ANI | Updated: Nov 16, 2018 16:36 IST

New Delhi [India], Nov 16 (ANI): Expressing his concern over the menace of increasing air pollution across the country, Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) Chairman Bhure Lal on Friday said that more straw burning has been recorded this year.
Lal criticised farmers who continue to burn stubble, instead of turning crop residue into useful products. While addressing a workshop on 'Bulk utilization of crop residue for economic and environmental sustainability' here, he said: "Farmers know that stubble burning is harmful yet they do not turn it into economic good. However, the new generation farmers are opening up for a change and are trying to utilise the residue in various forms, mainly fertilizer."
The recent report issued by Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) in October, however, stated paddy stubble burning incidents in Punjab have significantly declined this Kharif season. The data from PPCB stated that 7503 cases of stubble burning were reported in the state till October 26 this year. There were 13,364 and 19,879 cases recorded during the same period in 2017 and 2016 respectively.
According to PPCB report on district wise stubble burning, Amritsar witnessed 733 incidents till October 26 as compared to 785 and 958 in 2017 and 2016 respectively.
In Fatehgarh Sahib town, which is the second least populous district of Punjab after Barnala, 226 stubble burning incidents took place. The organisation recorded 589 incidents in 2017 and 1126 in 2016. In Tarn Taran district, which has the largest sarovar (holy tank) in the world, also recorded a steep decline with 1129 cases of crop burning residue. The region saw 1507 cases in 2017 and 1980 in 2016. Patiala also marked improvement with only 936 cases this season whereas there were 1303 and 1718 cases recorded in 2017 and 2016 respectively during the same period. Sri Muktsar Sahib also recorded a significantly less incident in 2018 with numbers going down to 576.
In 2017, the state recorded 977 cases and 1612 the previous year.
Bhure Lal also touched upon the subject of importance of changing cropping pattern saying, "if Indian farmers do not change their cropping pattern they will incur problem".
Experts in the agricultural field suggest that crops with the tap roots must be followed by those with fibrous root system, as it will help in uniform use of nutrients in the soil. Not only that, the crop belonging to the same family should not be planted in succession as they may act like alternate hosts for insects, pests and diseases. Exhaustive crops such as tobacco, sugarcane, jute should be followed by less exhaustive crops because exhaustive crops need more inputs such as better tillage, fertilizers and greater number of irrigations.
Every year as farmers residing in Punjab and Haryana start burning leftover crop residue, the pollution in the national capital reaches 'hazardous' category.
According to a report, the poor farmers continue to practice stubble burning despite a ban, claiming that they are forced to do this as they have no other alternative. The farmers had also stated that there is an acute shortage of Happy Seeder Machines and the price of the machine is also not in their affordable limit. (ANI)