Wednesday, June 23

West Bengal: Remote-sensing technology to check on stubble burning

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The state pollution control board has signed a deal with ISRO and IIT-Delhi to collect images and data of stubble burning from the space so that SPs and DMs can take immediate action against errant farmers. With PCB’s study showing trans-border emission contributing to degradation of Kolkata’s air, the agency wants realtime preventive measures.

Remote sensing (RS), geographic information system (GIS) and global positioning system (GPS) technology would be used to collect the data so that immediate action could be taken against errant farmers, said WBPCB chairman Kalyan Rudra. “Stubbles are often set on fire owing to the narrow gap between two crops cycles. Bengal can have three crop cycles. Despite a sustained campaign by the agriculture department, stubble burning takes place. National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration data shows burning of crop residual in rural Bengal is significant and adversely affects the ambient air.”

This move would help authorities control pollution, said a WBPCB official.

NASA, US, has been keeping a watch on burning of crops since 2012 and has been releasing satellite images each year. Two years ago, NASA’s imagery captured by the Moderate Resolution Image Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s aqua satellite showed large tracts of land shrouded in smoke.

Using the data, WBPCB will also create probability maps to alert government agencies about areas, where chances of stubble burning were 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 the next 72 hours and forecast the levels of pollutants, coming from sources other than stubble burning.

Source: Times of India

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