Stubble-burning, industries ‘major causes’ of pollution : The Tribune India

Tribune News Service

Nitin Jain

Ludhiana, April 5

The Centre for Air Pollution Studies (CAPS) at the Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) has released a policy document as an addendum to ‘Vision: Clean Skies for Punjab’, a stakeholder engagement event organised here to address the issue of air pollution.

The document, a copy of which is with The Tribune, has outlined some of the major challenges that Punjab faces in controlling the air pollution, especially pollution arising from stubble burning, industries, and the transport sector during the winter months, and has suggested interventions.

The study revealed that around 3 million hectares of land was under rice cultivation in the state, which generates approximately 20 million tonnes of residue, of which only 1.5 per cent was managed ex-situ, while over 98 per cent was either managed in-situ or burnt.

Listing the challenges, the report said lack of transport mechanisms at the village level for ex-situ crop residue management (CRM), no timely incentives to farmers for CRM interventions, no long-term policies for in-situ and ex-situ CRM, and lack of market mechanisms for selling crop residue at the village level were the main challenges faced by the agrarian state in pollution management.

The document stated that industries such as brick-kilns, food processing, metallurgy, automobiles, rolling mills, and textiles were flourishing in the state. “There are 2.59 lakh registered industries in Punjab, with maximum 95,202 in Ludhiana followed by 20,200 in Amritsar and 18,170 in Jalandhar. Most of them emit suspended particulates, oxides of nitrogen and sulfur, organic compounds, and other pollutants into the air,” the report stated.

The study also listed lack of clean fuel (LPG, CNG, LNG, and biomass) usage in the industries and lack of awareness about advanced air pollution to control devices and technologies among the major challenges to check pollution in the state.

The CSTEP, which is one of India’s leading think tanks with a mission to enrich policymaking with innovative approaches using science and technology for a sustainable, secure, and inclusive society, has recommended a centralised platform for industrial Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS) data for research analysis and modelling in the state.

It stated that as of March 2019, Punjab recorded around 1.14 crore registered motor vehicles as compared to 1.06 crore in 2018. “The increase in vehicular density is due to the increased share of personal vehicles,” the report said.

“Unregulated heavy vehicular movement from neighbouring states and lack of good road infrastructure for the smooth flow of traffic are also main challenges,” the study pointed out.

The report has recommended quick response (QR) codes in vehicles for detecting pollution under control certificates and clean fuel for public transport. Headquartered in Bengaluru, the CSTEP’s areas of focus were climate, environment and sustainability, energy and power, artificial intelligence and digital platforms, and strategic studies.

Read More: Stubble-burning, industries ‘major causes’ of pollution : The Tribune India

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