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Air Quality Commission calls on NCR states to adopt ISRO protocol for estimating farm fires

By on August 22, 2021 0
Prior to the harvest season, the Air Quality Management Commission (CAQM) called on Delhi and neighboring states to ensure the adoption and application of a standard protocol developed by ISRO for the ‘estimation of crop residue fires using satellite data. The commission, mandated to design and execute plans to prevent and control air pollution in the national capital region and surrounding areas, also called on Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to develop a comprehensive time-bound action plan, in consultation with stakeholder agencies responsible for monitoring and reporting agricultural residue burn events, based on the protocol.

The commission had highlighted the need to develop and implement a standardized methodology in the NCR and adjacent areas for fire monitoring during meetings with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) at a meeting held in December from last year.

The protocol was prepared in consultation with stakeholder agencies such as state remote sensing centers and the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, he said.

“Now, therefore, in view of the overwhelming need to monitor and control air pollution from stubble burning, the commission … hereby orders the Delhi NCT government to ensure adoption and application of the standard protocol for estimating crop residue combustion fires using satellite data, ”read the instructions.

The commission said the protocol should be adopted uniformly in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi, and not limited to Punjab and Haryana.

The air quality panel also asked those states to submit a compliance report on the adoption of the protocol by August 30.

The northern states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are gaining attention during the paddy harvest season between October 15 and November 15.

Farmers set their fields on fire to quickly remove crop residues left after harvest and before growing wheat and potatoes. This is one of the main reasons for the alarming spike in pollution in Delhi-RCN.

Despite the ban on stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, farmers continue to challenge it because there is a short window between harvesting paddy and sowing wheat.

The high cost of manually or mechanically managing the straw is one of the main reasons farmers choose to burn it.

State governments provide 50-80 percent subsidies to farmers and cooperatives to purchase modern farm equipment for in situ paddy straw management, install paddy straw power plants and conduct a large campaign awareness campaign against stubble burning.

But these measures have not yet had a significant impact on the ground.

According to a recent study by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), a Delhi-based nonprofit policy research institution, a relatively longer stubble period and adverse weather conditions were mainly responsible for the deterioration of the crop. air quality in Delhi. in winter last year.

Analysis showed that the contribution of stubble burning to PM2.5 levels in Delhi exceeded 30% for seven days (between October 10 and November 25) in 2020 compared to three days in 2019.

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