Soon after the Festival Of Light, Diwali ended in India, the city of Delhi and its vicinities started to choke on a thick layer of smog. It has been four days since Diwali, yet Delhiites have not gotten any respite from the poor air quality index and close to zero visibility, leading to all sorts of accidents and health issues.
— Anand Katakam (@anandkatakam) November 3, 2016
A couple of days later, this smog travelled over to the neighbouring country, Pakistan, and engulfed the second most populous city Lahore with the same disease-ridden smog. Until now, many people were pointing fingers at the excessive bursting of crackers and fireworks at Diwali, but these new images published by NASA have revealed a more grave problem.
— Prasanto K Roy (@prasanto) November 3, 2016
The images suggest that the real culprit behind this dense smog is the dreaded practice of burning crops in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.
By observing the image from NASA, the source of crop burning is quite clear, which are marked as red on the picture. As quite evident, the majority of the red dots lie in the areas of Indian Punjab centred around the city of Jalandhar.
According to a report by the New York Times, the farmers in the areas usually burn the redundant straw instead of disposing of it through proper measures, mainly due to the lack of funds. This excess straw weighs as 32 million tonnes, which has led to the smog blanket.
The situation seems to be unresolvable at the moment since the only way the excess straw burning can be avoided is to stop its production by using a special brand of seeds, which cost around $1,900. The excess cost means that even if the government agrees to pay half of the cost, the farmers still can’t afford the practice.
The Meteorology Departments of the both countries have said that the situation will persist until there are some showers.
Smog blankets New Delhi – air pollution in the Indian capital has reached “severe” levels this week pic.twitter.com/HHXlxg1Ypg
— AFP news agency (@AFP) November 2, 2016
Have you been affected by the smog? Let us know in the comments’ section below!