Punjab Remote Sensing Centre to help fight pollution due to burning of paddy stubble

An android based mobile application by Punjab Remote Sensing Centre will help in reporting fire incidents captured via satellite.

Punjab Remote Sensing Centre to help fight pollution due to burning of paddy stubble
Punjab Remote Sensing Centre to help fight pollution due to burning of paddy stubble

Punjab Remote Sensing Centre to help fight pollution due to burning of paddy stubble

Each year's stubble burning of paddy in Punjab and Haryana around September and October causes huge air pollution. Burning of straws is done to minimize the turn-around time for the second crop. The farmers burn approx 35 million tons of paddy waste or straw. It is a low-cost practice, but stubble burning is hazardous to the environment and spikes the air pollution in Delhi and nearby regions each year.

In 2019, Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC) data showed 15,132 active fire events around late September and October. Now, the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) PRSC will coordinate and bring all the things together on a single platform. Agricultural crop residue after burning emits several harmful greenhouse gases like CO2, N2O, CH 4, causing air pollution in nearby states. 

An android based mobile application by Punjab Remote Sensing Centre will help in reporting fire incidents captured via satellite. The latest monitoring system will involve persons at each level like patwari, deputy commissioner, SDM, nodal officers, district police, and PPCB. The application of the Remote sensing-based platform will provide synchronicity in operations.

The web-based application having role-based logins for a subdivision, tehsil, village nodal, etc. will help the decision-makers. This year, the fields will be visited by the concerned authority within two days of reporting a fire incident. Environmental compensation will be imposed on the farmer for such practice.

Satellite images from NASA showing stubble burning 

After visiting the site, the field officers will provide ATR information for each active fire point identified through satellite data. PRSC has developed a dashboard that will use this information. A mobile application and an SMS alert system is also there for better coordination. 

The air pollution from subtle burning not only affects the environment but harms health too. Mapping the extent and timing of fires are important for restricting such practices. Satellites can monitor biomass burning from regional to global scale. 

Meanwhile, the Worldwide Fund for Nature India is designing a system that uses paddy straw as an energy feeder for boilers. Leading manufacturer of Swedish multinational IKEA in Ludhiana is supporting this initiative. Punjab government has announced an 80% subsidy on happy seeders that can sow wheat, cut straw, and help in depositing straw for mulching. The server can be mounted on a tractor easily. 

These steps will reduce the practice of burning stubble. The government is working for farmers at every level, and technologies like remote sensing are providing a common platform for sharing, analyzing, and decision making.