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Using Technology to Combat Stubble Burning

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Technology has played a tremendous role in finding innovative solutions for tackling pollution across the world. Adding yet another feather in its cap, technology has figured out a way to tackle the stubble burning incidents in the neighbouring areas of Delhi.
Air pollution in Delhi has been ranked as the highest in the world. A major chunk of it is caused because of the stubble burning in the neighbouring states of the capital. Owing to this, the supreme court has ordered a ban on the practice. Despite this, owing to the convenience, time-saving and inexpensiveness of the practice, it is still the most preferred method of getting rid of the farm waste by the farmers.
In order to control these incidents, the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has launched an advanced Air Quality Early Warning System, which can predict places neighbouring Delhi that are likely to burn crop residue on a given day.
The system, developed by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, under MoES, uses data of stubble burning incidents from the past 15 years to predict the date and place of the next burning, and help authorities to act in advance.
Using the data, the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), under the aegis of the Central Pollution Control Board, creates probability maps to alert government agencies about areas where the chances of stubble burning is going to be high.
The system can also track pollution load from stubble burning in places neighbouring the national capital, using satellite data. It can predict the air pollution level for next 72 hours. It can also forecast the level of pollutants like particulate matter (PM) 2.5, PM10, and dust, coming from sources other than stubble burning.
This will help authorities to take preventive steps to control pollution levels as well as mitigate pollution from existing sources.
To forecast pollution before it reaches Delhi, the scientists take satellite data of farm fires twice a day (at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm). The data is then fed into the model and the emissions in Delhi are then transmitted based on wind direction.
The model was developed last year but was used internally. It can also be accessed by the public from ews.tropmet.res.in the website of MoES.
The website will also daily update fire count occurring around Delhi.