NGT seeks govts' response on plea against agri residue burning

Petition seeks ban on process that harms environment

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday sought response from the Centre and states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on a plea which claimed that burning of agricultural residue in these states is not only polluting the environment but also causes smog in Delhi.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also issued notice and sought responses of the environment pollution (prevention and control) authority     
(EPA) and the pollution control boards of the three states by the next date of hearing on
July 1. The Tribunal was hearing an application filed by UP-based environmentalist Vikrant Tongad who alleged that burning of agricultural residue, like straw, in Punjab, Haryana and UP is causing air pollution not only in these states but also in the National Capital Region of Delhi.

Seeking a ban on burning of agricultural residue, Tongad submitted that the burning of biomass is prohibited as per EPA guidelines but despite that state pollution control boards are doing nothing to stop such practices of farmers.

In his plea, filed through advocates Rahul Choudhary and Parul Gupta, Tongad sought directions to concerned authorities as well as these states to take steps to stop the practice of burning of agricultural residue/biomass.

He said burning of biomass contributes significantly to global warming and also affects the health of children as well as adults by causing various respiratory diseases.

Burning of agricultural residue in the northern states pollute the air and more specifically create smog in the National Capital Region of Delhi, the application said.

“The smoke can also harm human health, aggravating heart and lung diseases. Older adults, children and people with chronic health conditions are at risk,” it said.

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