Burning crop residue is one of the most reasons for the chronic air contamination in northern India, including the capital New Delhi. The poisonous air costs the nation as much as 8.5% of its GDP, according to World Bank calculations, besides shortening the lives of citizens.
The contamination intensifies amid winters, as smoke rising from the farm fires drifts and is then captured by low temperatures, covering the country’s land-locked capital and other adjoining areas in a thick cover of brown haze.
The paddy and wheat ranchers from Punjab, Haryana, and other parts of western Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand harvest their crops within the month of October. After the harvest, these farming zones deliver a huge amount of paddy straw and burn it within less than a month’s span between October-November in preparation for new planting. The smog from the crop burning exacerbates the contamination levels in Delhi and National Capital Locale. To curb the contamination levels, the government prohibited the crop residue burning in these states. The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has claimed that there has been a decline within the paddy stubble-burning in Punjab this Kharif season. Delhi neighboring state Haryana as well recorded a decline within the cases of crop-burning.
Farmers in Punjab should be encouraged to sow three crops in one year as the agro-climate and marketing conditions permits farmers to increase cropping intensity upto 300%.