Blazing fields of Punjab not only cause pollution in the neighboring states but have also got the attention of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) based in United States of America.NASA has released pictures from parts of Pakistan and India in which burning of paddy straw could be clearly seen. Many farmers in Punjab burn the stubble after harvesting causing severe pollution in Haryana and Delhi. Smoke released due to burning is carried to these states by high velocity winds.
NASA in a recent study has stated “India and Pakistan have two main growing seasons—one from May to September and another from November to April. In November, farmers typically sow crops such as wheat and vegetables; but before they do that farmers often set fire to fields to clear them for planting”.The space agency has noted that the fire in fields in Punjab were clearly visible from space. NASA has deployed Suomi NPP satellite to study the impact of paddy straw burning.
NASA has further stated in the study, “Since it is early October, farmers are most likely clearing those fields with fire when the Suomi NPP satellite’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument captured this image on October 04, 2017. Actively burning areas, detected by VIIRS are outlined in red. When they are accompanied by smoke, as in this image, they are indicative of fire”.Stubble burning is a relatively new phenomenon. Historically, farmers harvested and plowed fields manually, tilling plant debris back into the soil. When mechanized harvesting using combines became popular in the 1980s, burning became common because the machines leave stalks that are about one-foot tall. Burning the stalks is the quickest and cheapest way to clear them.
For the past three years NASA satellites began to detect large numbers of active fires in mid-October. Normally extensive agricultural burning lasts for about three weeks. Although most of the haze appears to originate from the agricultural fires, other factors such as urban and industrial smog may also be contributing.Recently Supreme Court had issued a ban on cracker bursting till November 1 in New Delhi and NCR area of the country.
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