Worried over high pollution level and thick smog engulfing the national capital, the National Green Tribunal today asked Delhi and four northern states to notify steps to check the menace of crop burning and imposed a fine on farmers indulging in such activities.
Observing that it was a serious issue which contributed to global warming and environmental pollution, the green panel imposed fines ranging from Rs 2,500 to Rs 15,000 on farmers indulging in burning of agricultural residues and asked the state governments to issue notification to curb burning of crop residues.
The states which have been asked to issue notifications are Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi. The NGT said if any state has already issued such a notification, then it should ensure its proper compliance sincerely.
"The burning of agriculture remains is a serious issue contributing towards global warming and the environmental pollution. You all are putting the life of people and children at danger and they are getting sick. You cannot allow them to suffer," a bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar said.
The panel's observation came after the counsel for petitioner submitted that at 10 PM yesterday, the website of Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) had shown that the particulate matter (PM) in Delhi stood at 460 mg per cubic metres, as against a maximum of 60 mg, and the percentage of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide was also on higher side.
The bench then asked the counsel to check the website in the court room and recorded that at 1245 hours today, PM was 275mg and both carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide continued to remain on the higher side of the prescribed limit.
"Global warming is having its own effect. The month of September has been the hottest month in 136 years. Crop burning is expected to be one of the most serious contributors to pollution and the ecology, besides vehicular emission, dust and burning of other materials," the bench said.
It noted that Delhi and the four states have been not been able to provide proper incentives to the farmers which could prevent agricultural residue burning.
"This is the menace which ought to be resolved by prevention and control mechanism, which could be beneficial to the farmers," the panel said.