Failure of bio-decomposer and schemes keeps Capital in desperate need of clean air

Burning of stubble incidents has started to rise quickly, particularly in Punjab and Haryana. This is not only polluting the national capital but it’s also lowering the state’s air quality. The air quality in the capital has reached the severe category once again as farm fires rage in Punjab. The national capital was transformed into a gas chamber, with AQI readings in certain areas of the city exceeding 400.

Today the Aam Aadmi Party is in-charge of both of these states Punjab and Delhi. Last year Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said “an audit by a central agency in Delhi has found the use of Pusa bio-decomposer, a microbial solution for stubble management, highly effective.” The CM even distributed the bio-decomposer for free so that the pollution can be controlled. However, this year the scenario looks completely different, it’s completely a failure as the farmers in Punjab and Haryana continue to burn stubble.

Punjab alone reported 21,480 stubble fires between September 15 and November 2, including 3,634 occurrences on Wednesday itself, according to satellite pictures captured by PRSC. From October 29 to November 2, 11,266 (52%) farm fires were reported, making up a significant portion of the total.

Central government’s scheme and state awareness program has also felt flat on face, according to a report the Punjab government distributed 1.05 lakh machines (on a subsidy basis) to farmers under the crop residue management (CRM) scheme of the central government to date and the state have launched several awareness programmes to sensitise the farmers to the problems of stubble burning, but there is no proportionate decrease in farm fires on the ground.

Stubble burning has been one of the biggest contributory reasons for boosting pollution level and causing health-related issues. According to CPCB air pollution of ‘severe level’ affects healthy people and seriously impacts children and those with existing diseases.

Vulnerable people appear to be most at risk, with decreased cognitive performance among the elderly, according to studies poor air quality is associated with adverse respiratory health outcomes, including asthma, other respiratory symptoms, and deficit in lung function and growth in children.

“It looks like year after year the political parties wait for the season as they can blame each other, they are absolutely not bothered by what common people are facing. Every year many old people in Delhi die suffocating from this pollution. All the hospital beds are full of old people having breathing issues, most don’t even get a bed,” said 60 years old Sukhvinder Kaur from Karol Bag, Delhi.

Kritika Sharma (38) from South Extension, Delhi said “today the visibility was very less when I woke up in the morning, you can feel the chemical the air you breathe, in fact it was creating irritation in my throat.”

Sharma said “those who have been speaking about religion and the use of firecrackers and all those kinds of stuff should at least now come forward to help each and every elderly person and kid suffering because of the pollution in the Capital and other places. They need to be educated, they should understand that this time of the year pollution can’t escape into the atmosphere and we have to breathe it, banning crackers is not against religion, using them will only add harmful elements to the air which makes it difficult for those having breathing issues.”

I am really curious to know what happened to that bio-decomposer that the AAP government was promoting last year to cut down pollution. Last year they blamed the then CM of Punjab for stubble burning but today they have their own government. Someone has to take the responsibility; you can’t make it the capital of zombies, said Abhishek Gupta (32) from Dwarka, Delhi.

Gupta added, “this is unfortunate, while the capital is grappling to get even an ounce of clean air, the politicians and political parties are busy throwing the ball in other’s court.”

The rise in the pollution level across the country clearly hints at how the state and central government has failed to educate the farmers, failed to provide better facilities for crop residue management and failed to provide a better environment to the citizen. They have failed to keep the air clean, which they also inhale several times a day.   

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