Significant decrease in stubble burning cases recorded: Environment Ministry

New Delhi: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said that the paddy harvesting season for the year 2023 came to an end witnessing a significant decrease in stubble burning.

Over the last 3 years, incidents of paddy stubble burning have witnessed a significant decrease, including in 2023, both for Punjab and Haryana.

As per the Environment Ministry Change formulation of district-specific action plans, intensified monitoring at the level of Chief Secretary, Deputy Commissioners and officers concerned in the State Govts, improving availability and utilisation of machines for management and a quantum rise in utilisation of paddy straw for various industrial/commercial applications has led to a substantial decrease in paddy straw burning incidents in Punjab and Haryana.

“Against cumulative 83,002 fire counts on account of paddy stubble burning in Punjab during 2020, the fire counts in the corresponding period were 71,304 during 2021, 49,922 during 2022 and 36,663 during 2023” Ministry said.

Ministry informed that for the Haryana 4,202 fire counts were reported in 2020.

“Against this figure, paddy stubble burning cases were 6,987 in 2021, 3,661 in 2022 and 2,303 in 2023 respectively,” an official statement said.

Punjab recorded an overall 27 per cent decrease in the total fire counts owing to paddy stubble burning during 2023 as compared to 2022.

“In terms of district-wise performance of Punjab in this context, 4 districts namely Muktsar, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur and Rupnagar recorded more than 50 per cent reduction in the paddy farm fires during 2023 as compared to 2022, while 5 districts viz,” ministry said.

“Bathinda, Fazilka, Ludhiana, Tarn Taran and Patiala recorded an improvement of 27 per cent – 50 per cent in their respective fire counts over figures in 2022. 11 districts namely Barnala, Faridkot, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ferozepur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Malerkotla, Mansa, Moga, Sangrur and SBS Nagar also witnessed a reduction ranging up to 27% in the farm fires during 2023,” it added.

Three districts in Punjab namely Amritsar, SAS Nagar and Pathankot emerged as a concern with an increase in the number of their respective fire counts during 2023 vis-a-vis 2022, the ministry said.

Ministry said that districts where more than 50 per cent reduction in the fire counts was recorded during 2023 as compared to 2022 are Kaithal, Karnal and Panipat while 3 districts Kurukshetra, Sirsa and Yamuna Nagar recorded a reduction between 37 percent-50 percent over the corresponding figures in 2022.

According to the ministry, the single-day highest fire count in Punjab was 5491 in 2020, 5327 in 2021, 3916 in 2022 and 3230 in 2023. The single-day highest fire count in Haryana was 166 in 2020, 363 in 2021, 250 in 2022 and 127 in 2023.

Ministry said that despite a significant reduction in the number of farm fires owing to paddy stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana the resultant improvement did not reflect as much in the daily average AQI of Delhi / NCR during the month of November.

“Primarily owing to highly unfavourable meteorology and climate conditions prevailing over the region particularly since the last week of October, with low-speed winds from the north-westerly direction, very low rainfall and near-calm wind conditions over Delhi which badly impeded the dispersion of pollutants, thus reflecting in a much higher AQI during the month of November, 2023 as compared to the November months in preceding years,” an official statement said.

(With inputs from ANI)


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