Indian gov’t calls for creating awareness of harmful effects of straw burning

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NEW DELHI, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) — India’s federal government has issued an advisory to state governments to create awareness among the farmers about the harmful effects of straw burning, officials said Saturday.

The directive was issued by agriculture ministry in wake of the increasing levels of pollution in Indian capital city New Delhi.

Burning of crop residue in the states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan also contributes to increasing environmental pollution levels. National Green Tribunal has directed the Delhi government and these four northern states to take strict measures to deal with this serious threat, an agricultural ministry official said.

“In this regard, agriculture ministry issued an advisory to the state governments to create awareness among the farmers about the harmful effect of straw burning,” the official said.

The ministry asked the states to facilitate residue management machines and equipment, such as zero till seed drill, happy seeder, straw baler, rotavator, paddy straw chopper, mulcher, gyro rake, straw reaper, shredder, etc., in custom hiring centres or village level farm machinery banks.

Since Tuesday morning Delhi was covered with thick smog, following which health officials issued advisory to elderly and children to avoid venturing out.

All schools in Delhi, adjoining areas and Punjab were closed until Sunday in view of the pollution.

The entry of trucks except those carrying essentials has been banned in the national capital, besides work on civil construction sites was suspended.

The deadly smog chocks air, causing breathlessness and lung difficulties, besides badly affecting the visibility.

Delhi is considered to be the most polluted city in the world. Last year the city’s high court described the capital as “gas chamber”.

Air pollution is a leading cause of premature death in India. Pollution in Delhi gets aggravated during winter months. Ahead of winters people burn agricultural waste to clear cropland, which contributes to the choking of already polluted air.

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