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Sunday , November 29 2020

Indian farmers blamed for worsening air pollution in Delhi

Congress party volunteers hold placards as they march against the alarming levels of pollution in the city, in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. Schools reopened on Wednesday in the Indian capital with toxic air level coming down by more than half since authorities declared a health emergency last weekend. With strong winds blowing away pollutants, the air quality index at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi read 155 as compared to 500 over the weekend that was 10 times the recommended WHO level. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian farmers said they’re being unfairly criticized for causing the worst air pollution in the capital because of the burning of stubbles in fields. The air quality index stood at 273 on Thursday after authorities declared a health emergency last weekend when the index crossed 500 – 10 times the level considered healthy by WHO standards.

Despite a ban on stubble burning, farmers say they have no choice but to set fire to the crop residue. Farmers in Haryana and Punjab states, bordering New Delhi, traditionally resort to stubble burning during the months of October and November as a cheap way of clearing their fields after harvesting the crops.

This year’s record pollution has also been aggravated by smog from festival fireworks. In an effort to tackle the high pollution levels, the New Delhi government is experimenting at limiting the number of cars on the road and halting construction activity. New Delhi’s top elected official, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, said his government had played its part and blamed farmers for setting the fires. (AP)

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