Air pollution why India cannot stop its farmers

Farmers in northern India burn paddy stubble Photo: Getty Images

Stubble burning in north India has long been a significant cause of air pollution but attempts to stop it fail every year.

Mr Singh has just finished burning left-over hay- known as stubble – to clear the soil for the next crop. The smoke is likely to travel as far as Delhi some 250km away creating massive pollution.

It’s not just Delhi that suffers. Stubble burning has created a massive public health crisis and endangers the health of hundreds of millions of people.

It’s more dangerous this year with Covid-19 damaging the country as pollution makes people more vulnerable to infection and decreases their recovery. Farmers in northern India burns about 23 million tonnes of stubble every year.

Governments ban this action. They’ve pitched alternatives they’ve forbidden it, they’ve fined farmers for continuing to do it and they send some farmers to jail for not cooperating. They’ve also tried to reward good behavior in 2019, the Supreme Court ordered a clutch of northern states to give 2,400 rupees ($32) per acre to every farmer who didn’t burn stubble.

Mr Singh, who didn’t do it last year was hoping to get this reward. he said We waited a whole year but we got nothing. So like many others, I decided to burn the stubble this year.In August the Punjab government admitted they couldn’t afford to pay so many farmers. Charandeep Grewal a farmer said I don’t know any farmer who has been paid this.

Dr Gulati the share of stubble burning in Delhi’s pollution can range from 1% to 42% depending on wind speed and direction.

A new environment ministry report says the average contribution has grown from 10% in 2019 to 15% this year.

Source: BBC News