16 June, 2021

Winter Is Coming And So Is Deadly Smog From Stubble Burning

Measures against stubble burning will make but a dent in the smoke

Most marginal farmers can’t afford subsidised machines
Photograph by Prabhjot Singh Gill
Winter Is Coming And So Is Deadly Smog From Stubble Burning

With the approaching winter comes memories of pollution choked Delhi—a thick pallor of smoke that almost shuts out the sun, with wheezing, sneezing, suffocating residents cowering under the miasma.  And, as in past years, far­­mers of Punjab and Haryana have started burning paddy stubble—the main culprit—to get rid of farm waste.

Twelve cases of burning were reported from Haryana and 10 in Punjab in recent days, despite tough directives from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to stop the practice, and bolstered by measures by the Centre and the governments of the states to put a cap to it.

“We anticipate those days with dread,” says Navdeep Kaur who lives in Delhi and hails from a farming family in Amritsar. She says her bro­­thers resort to burning as they have no alternative. “I can’t blame farmers and don’t want my family to suffer,” she admits.  

Delhi’s pollution was mired in politics—when Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal blamed Punjab and Haryana...

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