Punjab Records 47 Per cent Increase In Stubble-Burning Incidents This Year


NEW DELHI – Punjab recorded the highest number of stubble-burning incidents this year, registering an increase of 46.5 per cent as compared to last year, according to the Central Pollution Control Board.

However, Haryana saw farm fire incidents reducing by 28.6 per cent this year.

Every year at the onset of winters, crop residue burning or stubble-burning begins in Punjab and Haryana leading to heavy air pollution in Delhi.

In its data released on Tuesday, pollution watchdog CPCB said the total count of active fire events reported in Punjab in 2020 is 76,537 while in 2019 it was 52,225 (between September 21 and November 22).

“Stubble-burning has increased by 46.5 per cent (or 24,312 incidents) during 2020 in comparison to 2019,” the apex pollution control body said.

In 2020, districts such as Sangrur, Bathinda and Ferozepur continued to be highest contributors to active farm fire events in comparison to 2019, it said.

In 2020, districts such as Moga, Amritsar, Fazilka, Ludhiana had shown more than 75 per cent increase in their number of fire counts in comparison to 2019.

“In 2020, all the districts of Punjab except SBS Nagar have shown an upward trend in their active fire events contribution,” the CPCB said, adding it showed lack of ground-level implementation of the Centre-supported scheme.

The average contribution of external biomass burning to PM 2.5 has increased from 10 per cent in 2019 to 15.63 per cent in 2020.

The maximum contribution of external biomass burning to PM 2.5 at 42 per cent was observed on November 5, 2020.

In Haryana, total count of fires reported in 2020 is 4,675 while in 2019 it was 6,551 (between September 25 and November 22).

“With the support of central government schemes initiated to stop stubble-burning, about 28.6 per cent (1,876 incidents) of stubble- burning reduced in 2020 in comparison to 2019,” the CPCB said.

In 2020, districts such as Fatehabad, Kaithal and Karnal continued to be major contributors to farm fires but still had shown reduction by 40 per cent in comparison to 2019, it said.

Districts such as Palwal and Kurukshetra had shown major reduction by 50-60 per cent this year in comparison to 2019, it said.

The pollution watchdog also said that under the central government scheme ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanisation for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi’, funds amounting to Rs 1178.47 crore were released from 2018-2020 and it had been approved for continuation during 2020-21 with Rs 600 crore.

Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar had earlier said that the central government’s PUSA institute had demonstrated a bio-decomposer technology which converted stubble to manure and is being experimented on a pilot basis in five states, including Delhi, and its trial is on. “It will help in dealing with crop residue and is cheap as well. In the future, there will be several ways, both in-situ and ex-situ, to fight against the problem of pollution emerging out of stubble-burning,” he had said.

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai had on Tuesday said that a 15-member impact assessment committee had ascertained the effectiveness of ‘Pusa bio-decomposer’ solution in reducing stubble-burning in the capital and it was submitted to the Environment Ministry’s Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas on Monday.