2,467 stubble burning incidents in Punjab in a day

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Punjab saw 2,467 stubble burning incidents on Saturday with Bathinda registering the maximum 358 farm fires. With these, the cumulative farm fire cases between September 15 and November 12 jumped to 43,144, according to the Ludhiana-based Punjab Remote Sensing Centre data.

This is 27 per cent less compared to 58,976 crop residue burning incidents reported in the corresponding period of last year, according to data.

The state had reported 71,091 such incidents during the same period in 2020, it stated.

Of the total 2,467 stubble burning incidents on Saturday, Bathinda topped the list with 358 farm fires, followed by 336 in Moga, 256 in Muktsar, 242 in Fazilka, 231 in Mansa, 200 in Faridkot, 186 in Ferozepur and 174 in Barnala, according to data.

The state had seen 1,758 and 3,403 active fire incidents on November 12 in 2020 and 2021 respectively, the data stated.

The farmers continued to set crop residue on fire in order to clear fields for sowing the wheat crop. The wheat, if sown by November 15, leads to high yield.

Meanwhile, air quality at many places in Haryana and Punjab on Saturday evening was recorded in the ‘moderate’ and ‘poor’, categories.

The air quality index in Haryana’s Jind was recorded at 293, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data.

Among other areas in Haryana, Gurugram reported AQI at 288, followed by 274 in Faridabad, 234 in Bahadurgarh, 224 in Fatehabad, 219 in Sonipat, 175 in Manesar, 174 in Panipat and 115 in Ambala.

In Punjab, Amritsar, Bathinda, Khanna, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Mandi Gobindgarh and Patiala reported their respective AQIs at 168, 193, 103, 166, 192, 245 and 146.

Chandigarh, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, reported its air quality at 104.

An AQI between 0-50 is considered “good”, 51-100 “satisfactory”, 101-200 “moderate”, 201-300 “poor”, 301-400 “very poor”, and 401-500 “severe”.

Paddy straw burning in Punjab and Haryana is one of the reasons behind the alarming spike in air pollution levels in the national capital in October and November.

As the window for Rabi crop wheat is very short after paddy harvest, farmers set their fields on fire to quickly clear off the crop residue. Punjab generates around 180 lakh tonne of paddy straw annually.

The state recorded 71,304 such fire incidents in 2021, 76,590 in 2020, 55,210 in 2019, 50,590 in 2018, 45,384 in 2017 and 81,042 in 2016, according to data.

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