Stubble Burning Current Affairs - 2020

Black Carbon Levels in Himalayan Glaciers and Biomethanation

The Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) conducted study near Gangotri Glacier in 2016. According to the study, the black carbon concentration in the region has increased by 400 times.

Highlights

The increase in carbon concentration in the region is mainly because of agricultural burning and forest fire. The concentration of black carbon was found to be minimum in August and maximum in May.

What is Black Carbon?

Black Carbon are fine particles of carbon that are formed due to incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass. These particles are capable of absorbing energy from the sun (light) a million times more than that of carbon dioxide. However, black carbon are short lived unlike carbon dioxide.

They increase current level of global warming mainly due to their light absorbing characteristics.

Biomethanation

The Government of India has taken the technology of Biomethanation as a solution for stubble burning. Quality manure and biogas are obtained from bio-methanation process. Six biomethanation plants are to be constructed in Punjab that will convert paddy straw into bio-gas.

Biomethanation is a process by which organic materials are microbiologically converted into biogas in anaerobic conditions. Anaerobic condition is an environment without oxygen.

ICAR report on Stubble Burning

On 4th November, 2019, the ICAR’s Creams Laboratory bulletin stated that there has been reduction of 12% in incidents of Stubble Burning as compared to the same period in 2018.

Highlights of the report

  • There were 31,402 burning events in the three states Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana as on October 1, 2019
  • The state wise reduction in stubble burning as compared to 2018 is as follows
    • Uttar Pradesh-48.2%
    • Haryana-11.7%
    • Punjab-8.7%
  • The report says that the reduction is mainly due to the launch of Central Scheme “Promotional of Agricultural Mechanization of In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in Punjab, UP and Haryana and NCT of Delhi”. The main purpose of the scheme is to subsidize machinery required.

Delhi

New Delhi is worst affected due to stubble burning in the three states. This year (2019) the Air quality Index of Delhi reached 999. This is the highest recorded AQI of Delhi in its history. According to WHO norms the AQI should be under 100.

Also, the PM 2.5 (Particulate Matter) concentration was more than 80% as against 50% of the normal course.

Western Disturbances

The Stubble burning smoke reaching Delhi is greatly influenced by the Western Disturbances. When these Cyclonic circulation are strong and persistent the smoke deposited in the city decreases.

The disturbances are capable of carrying the smoke far and spread them wide when they are strong. The weakening of these disturbances lately due to global warming is also one of the reasons for the increased stubble smoke in Delhi.