The National Green Tribunal Wednesday issued directions to ban the practice of crop burning in Delhi and four neighbouring states. While observing that the practice was having an adverse impact on air quality in the national capital, the bench also issued directions to incentivise farmers to ensure the crop residue is not burnt and educate them about the harmful effects of pollution.
The green panel issued directions for imposing fines ranging from Rs 2,500 to Rs 15,000 on farmers indulging in burning of agricultural residue. The quantum of fine will depend on the extent of landholding.
The bench said small land owners having less than two acres will have to pay Rs 2,500, medium land owners holding over two acres and less than five acres will have to pay Rs 5,000 and those owning over five acres will have to pay Rs 15,000 per incident of crop burning towards environment compensation.
The NGT directed the governments of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi to issue notifications prohibiting the practice.
“The burning of agriculture remains a serious issue contributing towards global warming and 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,” said the bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar.
The panel’s observation came after counsel for petitioner informed the bench that at 10 pm Tuesday, the website of Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) had shown that the particulate matter (PM) stood at 460 mg per cubic metre, as against a maximum permissible limit of 60 mg, and the percentage of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide was also on the higher side.
The bench checked the website in the courtroom and recorded that at 12.45 pm, the PM was 275mg and the percentage of both carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide was higher than the prescribed limit.
The submissions were made during a hearing on a plea filed by advocate Vardhaman Kaushik over the issue of air pollution in the NCR.
“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,” commented the bench.