Farm fire share in Delhi’s pollution but opposition parties are in denial: Gopal Rai – surroundings

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Delhi Surroundings Minister Gopal Rai on Monday targeted the BJP and the Congress on the issue of stubble burning, saying the share of farm fires in Delhi’s pollution has soared to 40 per cent but the opposition parties are in denial.

According to the Ministry of Soil Sciences’ air quality monitor, SAFAR, the share of stubble burning in Delhi’s pollution rose to 40 per cent on Sunday, the maximum so far this season.

It used to be 32 per cent on Saturday, 19 per cent on Friday and 36 per cent on Thursday, the second one highest this season so far.

“We have been saying it over and over again that stubble burning is a major reason in the back of severe levels of pollution in Delhi around Diwali, but the BJP and the Congress say the share of farm fires in Delhi’s pollution used to be just 4 to 6 per cent, whereas statistics show it has increased to 40 per cent,” Rai told reporters all through the launch of “Red Light On, Gaadi Off” crusade in all 272 wards of Delhi to curb vehicular pollution.

He said the Delhi government has been doing everything conceivable to curb biomass burning, and vehicular and dust pollution, “but what will have to we do approximately stubble burning?” Final year, the stubble contribution to Delhi’s pollution had peaked to 44 per cent on November 1, according to SAFAR data.

NASA’s satellite imagery showed a large, dense cluster of fire dots covering Punjab and parts of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Rai said air pollution combined with the Covid-19 pandemic will also be “catastrophic” and strict action on the ground used to be more important than creating new commissions The Centre introduced a new law recently through an ordinance that put in place a powerful Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and adjoining areas to curb air pollution.

On the Rajasthan government banning bursting of firecrackers, the minister said, “Pollution is defined by the air shed. There’s a need for collective action. In Delhi, it used to be repeatedly being said that the rising pollution level is because of stubble burning in neighbouring states, and the response we received from the central government and states used to be that there is not any alternative to stubble burning.” In Delhi, the administration sprayed the bio decomposer developed by Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa, in non-Basmati rice fields to prevent stubble burning.

“The preliminary reports have been extremely positive. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will ascertain the ground reality at Hiranki village on November 4,” he said.

“We wish to tell the states and the central government that there is not any cheaper alternative than this (bio decomposer). We request them to physically witness the bio decomposer at work,” he added.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

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