Early harvest, emission control mean cleaner air for Delhi

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 16, 2020 Published on October 16, 2020

A farmer burns straw stubble after harvesting a paddy crop, in a field on the outskirts of Amritsar on Friday   -  NARINDER NANU

Early harvesting of kharif paddy and installation of flue gas desulphurization (FGD) devices in thermal power plants in and around the National Capital Region may help improve air quality in Delhi and surroundings during winter, according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) officials on Friday.

Due to early sowing of crops this kharif, harvesting is happening early in north Indian States. Besides, there is a substantial reduction in acreage of non-basmati rice (nearly four lakh hectares less as compared to last year) in Punjab and Haryana this year. This is all expected to contribute to reduction in stubble burning this year, said CPCB Member Secretary Prashant Gargava during a briefing here.

This would mean that in all likelihood stubble burning would not be at its peak during adverse weather conditions, in November second or third week, which aggravate the problem, he said. Even though there has been efforts to discourage farmers from crop residue burning by providing alternative solutions and the Supreme Court has also ordered punitive measures, a sizeable number of farmers continue to burn stubble to clear the fields.

As per the data available with CPCB, the daily contribution of stubble burning to air pollution in Delhi during this season was between 1 and 6 per cent so far, while it had gone up to a daily maximum of 44 per cent in the previous winter, he said.

According to CPCB Chairman, Shiv Das Meena, said the board has set up 50 teams to monitor pollution hotspots and suggest action required by different agencies as well as individual industries. These teams will be working till February 28 as against till February 15 last year, Meena said.

Similarly, out of 14 thermal power units in the NCR region, totalling 5,350 MW, 41 per cent of the units have already installed FGD devices reducing their pollution load. Another 46.5 per cent units are installing these devices. This leaves out only 13 per cent of the total thermal power units, which would also take up the task soon. This is will help a great extent, Meena said.

With regard to vehicular pollution in the capital, he said the implementation of Bharat Stage VI will a positive impact on pollution levels in the city. While the use of BS VI fuel in non BS VI compliant vehicles reduces the pollution by 30 per cent, that in BS VI compliant vehicles brings down pollution by as much as 70 per cent. As the percentage of BS VI vehicles goes up year after year, there would be substantial reduction in vehicular pollution.

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Published on October 16, 2020
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