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Q. Massive pollution cloud enveloping northern India: Discuss the issue of massive pollution cloud enveloping northern part of India.
Nov 04, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-3

Ans :

Introduction-

The national capital and several other cities suffer crippling pollution in the post-monsoon and winter months partly due to biomass burning. Every year northern part of India witnesses massive pollution and cloud enveloping with pollution.  This aspect reflects growing disconnect between official policies and ground realities. 

Reasons-

  • Burning of agricultural waste in the northern States significantly contributes to the poor air quality in large parts of the Indo-Gangetic Basin.
  • Local and cascading impacts felt from Punjab all the way to West Bengal. Harmful fine particulate matter measuring 2.5 mm in diameter (PM2.5) is among the pollutants released.  
  • Though governments of these states have launched several programmes, but these efforts do not match the scale of agricultural residues produced. 

Issues-

  • The national production of crop waste is about 500 million tonnes a year, with Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and West Bengal topping the list. 
  • 80% of straw from paddy is burnt in some States, impacting air quality and depriving croplands of nutrients.
  • Policies of government failed to address farmers’ anxiety to remove the surplus from the fields quickly to make way for the next crop.

Impact-

Burning residues add greenhouse gases that cause global warming, besides pollutants such as carbon monoxide, ammonia, nitrous oxide and sulphur dioxide that severely affect human health.

Suggestions-

  • Agricultural Research Institute could be scaled up, and farmers should be given liberal support to deploy solutions to these issues.
  • Conservation agriculture needs to be popularised as it will helps in abetting pollution and also improves the productivity.

Conclusion-

In recent times pollution level has been increased manifold in the northern part of India, mainly due to burning of agricultural wastes. This aspect has long lasting impact on environment it needs to be addressed immediately. Though governments have initiated various policies to address this aspect, but there is urgent need of effective implementation of those measures. 


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