Punjab CM rubbishes Kejriwal's claims on stubble burning
Chandigarh (Punjab), Nov 4: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday rubbished the claims of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal that the stubble burning in Punjab was solely responsible for the high levels of pollution in the national capital.
He further took a dig at Kejriwal for showcasing satellite pictures of stubble burning in Punjab as proof of it being the primary cause of the Delhi's severe pollution.
Singh asserted that if stubble burning had been the reason for Ambient Air Quality deterioration then it should have impacted the air quality index of the cities of Punjab in the first place.
The Punjab Chief Minister also pointed out that the unpleasant air quality of Delhi has been due to its own sources like vehicular emission, construction activities, industrial activities, power plants, burning of Municipal Solid Waste and sweeping activities.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi remains more than 300+ even during December and January every year when there is no stubble burning in the neighboring States. This clearly indicates that the New Delhi environment is impacted by its own sources within Delhi.
Stating the latest report of air pollution forecast by Weather Research and Forecasting Model of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), he said, Winds over Delhi-NCR had changed from north-westerly to easterly, so there was hardly any influence from crop fires in Punjab and Haryana. Yet, Delhi's air quality continued to be Very Poor, with an average PM2.5 concentration of 208 micrograms per cubic meters on 2nd November, which was caused mainly from local vehicular and industrial emissions.
Singh added that the increase in the concentration of (Particulate Matter) PM 2.5 due to stubble burning is proportionately less as compare to PM 10. The contribution of stubble fire in the increase of PM 2.5 is less, whereas, the Ambient Air Quality in Delhi witnesses an increase in the PM2.5 during the winter months
Due to the decrease in the temperature and wind velocity, the pollutants in the atmosphere are unable to disperse, which is the major cause of the increase in the AQI at most places in north India.
Referring to the data, Chief Minister Singh said, In particular, New Delhi AQI crosses the 400 mark due to high emissions from activities of a large population in a confined area of NCR and inversion phenomenon of the climate. During October 2018, the wind velocity became static and decreased to less than 2 KM/hr.
He further said that there has been a decreasing trend in cases of stubble burning. As far as stubble burning incidents was concerned, the number of such cases till November 3, was 25394 against the 30832 reported last year - clearly showing a decreasing trend. The number of fire incidents per lakh acres of the area under paddy plantation is 390, which is very nominal, Singh said.
Singh also claimed that the state had been able to persuade 98 per cent farmers not to practice the stubble burning.
The Punjab Chief Minister also said that the people of Punjab would give their answer to Kejriwal in the upcoming Assembly elections while also asking him to be prepared for a worse treatment than the assembly polls last year.