Punjab: Agricultural fires smoke skies, blind satellites

PATIALA: With winter investment throughout Punjab, the air quality index (AQI) in the state reached dangerous levels on Sunday. Patiala and Mandi Gobindgarh fought with the worst AQI. As a thick layer of smog covered most of the state, the Patiala municipal corporation called an emergency meeting to start a special campaign against burning waste in open areas.

The Punjab Remote Sensing Center (PRSC) in Ludhiana, which failed to detect agricultural fires on Friday and Saturday due to a thick cloud cover that covered the entire state, on Sunday managed to collect up to 2,856 cases of agricultural fires across the state. Most of these were reported by Patiala, Muktsar, Mansa, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Bathinda and Barnala.

Statistics showed that as of Sunday, a total of 2,672 cases of Tarn Taran, 2,903 of Sangrur, 2,422 of Patiala, 1,524 of Muktsar, 1,447 of Mansa, 1,068 of Kapurthala, 918 of Jalandhar, 1,191 of Gurdaspur, 3,053 of Ferozepur were reported , 1,102 of Faridkot, 1,795 of Bathinda and 1,107 of Amritsar. Last year, until November 3, a total of 25,380 cases were registered in Punjab and in 2017 the figure was 30,867.

District administrations have begun to take legal action against farmers who violate the ban on burning the stubble of the National Green Court (NGT) based on data provided by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB).

Meanwhile, the eight stations of continuous monitoring of ambient air quality (CAAQMS) in the state reflected readings that led the PPCB to launch another awareness campaign starting Monday against stubble burning. The monitoring station in Patiala showed a reading of 416 µgm/m3 until 5pm, which is the most severe in the state, followed by Mandi Gobindgarh, where the CAAQMS reflected a reading of 403 µgm/m3, which was again in the category severe

In Amritsar, the monitoring station showed a reading of 320 µgm/m3. In Bathinda, the situation was no different with a reading of 300 µgm/m3, while in Jalandhar residents had to breathe very poor air and the monitoring station showed a reading of 325 µgm/m3. In Khanna, air quality was recorded at 348 µgm/m3, which was in a very poor category, in Ludhiana it was 345 µgm/m3 and in Ropar it was 273 µgm/m3, which was in the poor category.

The minimum temperatures in Punjab ranged from 13-17 ° C. Visibility throughout the state remained low, which led traffic police to issue a warning for passengers to drive with their headlights on. A large number of people traveled on roads with their faces covered with masks or scarves, trying to avoid contaminants. Doctors used several social media platforms to advise people to stay indoors and avoid moving outdoors, especially patients with heart and respiratory conditions.

Meanwhile, without a place to go, homeless people continued to be exposed to high levels of pollution with district administrations throughout the state asking them to move to night shelters to protect against pollution.

What is the winter investment?

Winter investments are annual climatic phenomena that occur with the onset of winter in the northern states of the country, in which atmospheric conditions such as cold air above and hot air below are reversed. This leads to the capture of pollutants in the lower layers of the atmosphere. Experts depend on heavy rains or winds to disperse these pollutants in larger areas.