NEW DELHI: After Punjab, cases of stubble burning have now slowly started rising in Haryana as well, National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (Nasa) satellite images have shown. In fact, the smoke being generated through the stubble burning is also being captured on the VIIRS satellite imagery, which showed a high aerosol smoke count stretching across the Indo-Gangetic plains and touching parts of Delhi over the last 24 hours.
Pawan Gupta, senior scientist, earth sciences at Nasa’s Marshall Space Flight Centre, said, “Though low in number, fires have started appearing in several places in Haryana. The count of fires was less than five till September 14 in Haryana but it reached between 20 and 25 on September 27.”
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The satellite had captured the images of stubble burning in Punjab last week. However, no significant activity was recorded in Haryana earlier. “On Sunday, the aerosol smoke was detected all the way to Delhi,” said Gupta who analysed the satellite images.
On Monday, Delhi’s overall air quality index (AQI) was 159, in the ‘moderate’ range. System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research on Monday said, “AQI has improved marginally due to high ventilation and rainfall in Rajasthan reducing dust intrusion. High surface winds are expected for the next two days. Favourable ventilation condition is likely to keep Delhi AQI in the moderate category for the next three days. Stubble burning fires observed on Sunday around Punjab and neighbouring border regions.”
Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai had said earlier in the month, “Last year, the stubble burning comprised 44% of Delhi’s pollution apart from Delhi’s own share of pollutants. In Punjab, around 20 million tonnes of stubble are produced, and around 9 million tonnes of stubble were burned in Punjab in 2019. In Haryana, around 7 million tonnes of stubble are produced, out of which 1.23 million tonnes of stubble were burned last year, due to which people of Delhi had to suffer from major pollution last year.”
After early signs of stubble burning had started appearing in satellite imagery, the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority last week wrote to both Punjab and Haryana governments stating that action was required to ensure the situation did not get worse.



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