Air Quality in Punjab Deteriorates Despite Reduction in Farm Fires


November 4, 2023

Patiala, Punjab: Despite a 50% reduction in farm fires, air quality in Punjab has deteriorated compared to the corresponding period last year.

Bathinda is the most polluted city in Punjab, with an AQI of 353 on November 3, 2023, higher than the AQI of 238 on the same day in 2022. Other cities that have seen a decline in air quality include Ludhiana, Amritsar, Patiala, and Jalandhar.

Noted economist Ranjit Singh Ghuman attributes the deteriorating air quality to irregular rainfall in July and August this year, which disrupted crop maturity and left farmers with a limited period for sowing wheat. As a result, there has been a higher number of stubble burning incidents this year.

On Friday, November 3, 2023, 1,551 cases of farm fires were reported across Punjab, taking the total this season to 12,813. Sangrur saw the maximum single-day incidents, with 305 cases.

Farm experts say that the authorities should focus on the use of combine harvesters and super SMS machines to shred the paddy residue and prevent stubble burning.

What can be done to improve air quality in Punjab?

  • The government should provide subsidies to farmers for the purchase of combine harvesters and super SMS machines.
  • The government should also provide financial assistance to farmers for stubble management.
  • Strict action should be taken against farmers who burn stubble.
  • The government should also raise awareness among farmers about the harmful effects of stubble burning.

By taking these measures, the government can help to improve air quality in Punjab and protect the health of its citizens.

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