J. Chem. En. Sci. A.

Stubble Burning in North-West India and its Impact on Health

Ms Charu Batra

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Crop Residue, Stubble Burning, Acute Respiratory Infection, Air Quality Index

PUBLISHED DATE September 6, 2017
PUBLISHER The Author(s) 2017. This article is published with open access at www.chitkara.edu.in/publications.

Burning of crop residues released many pollutants, resulting in serious health hazards. This paper is an attempt to explore status of crop residues burning in Northwest India and its consequences on health in general and on child health in particular. An effort has also been made to find out the correlation between stubble burning and increasing incidence of acute respiratory infection (ARI) among children in Punjab. Finally an inventory of suggestions to curb this evil has also been prepared. Based on secondary sources, the data collected from various published studies, reports and NFHS, the present study found that residue burning resulted in the emission of greenhouse and various harmful gases. Such emission of harmful gases is many times higher than the standard level of gases as recommended by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). It has also been observed that the phenomenon of stubble burning is quite high in Punjab with comparison to other northwest Indian states resulting into increase in incidence of ARI among children.


Agriculture sector has always been the pivotal sector to the sustainable growth and development of Indian economy. During Green Revolution, high yielding variety (HYV) seeds had been introduced in the system which extensively increased the productivity, cropping intensity of land and per capita income of farmers. This induced farmers to adopt wheat-rice cropping pattern which resulted in the unsustainable use of natural resources such as soil, water and forests. After China, India is the second largest rice producing country and contributes 20% to the world rice production. Paddy production in India was 94.5 million tonne (Mt) in 2017-18 as estimated by Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers welfare and this produced 141.75Mt of straw. About 40 MT of paddy straw is generated in the north-west India of which Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana are the major contributors. Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana produced 20.67Mt, 19.70Mt and 6.86Mt rice straw respectively (CESD 2017). One kilogram of paddy generates 1-1.5 kilogram of straw. In these states, about 80 percent rice straw sets to fire in fields and of the total open field burning, 48% is contributed by Punjab and Haryana alone.(Gadde et. al.,2009). This is primarily due to the short span between rice harvesting and wheat plantation. Burning of this precious raw material emits harmful particulate matters (PM10 and PM2.5) and greenhouse gases (GHGs). It releases 70 percent Carbon dioxide (CO2), 7 percent Carbon monoxide (CO), 0.66 percent Methane (CH4), and 2.09 percent Nitrogen dioxide (N2O) (Gupta et al. 2004) and have negative impact on air and soil quality and on human health. The particulate matters (PM10 and PM2.5) released from burning have different intensity to affect different age group people. The weak body organs of children lead to inhale more PMs consequently their respiration rate becomes higher than other age groups. This study presents the extent of rice crop residues burning in the north-west region of India and its increasing incidence of acute respiratory infection (ARI) among children in Punjab. This paper firstly explains the objectives of the study followed by methodology, findings and discussion and lastly provides observed suggestions for to curb this menace.

Page(s) 13-18
URL http://dspace.chitkara.edu.in/jspui/bitstream/123456789/796/1/JCE%204-1-2.pdf
ISSN Print : 2349-7564, Online : 2349-7769
DOI https://doi.org/10.15415/jce.2017.41002
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