NASA images show signs of concern for India

Recent pictures which are released by NASA show many parts of India which are under the dots of fire. The area stretches across Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and also some states in Southern India. NASA has predicted that due to too much of hot weather, heat in these areas has increased manifolds. As a result, black carbon is forming which is a real cause of global warming. Some of the experts feel that these red dots may be due to forest fires.

However, Hiren Jethva who is the research scientist Goddard Space Flight Centre at NASA feels that fires in Central India mostly occur due to crop fires. This is due to the fact because forest fires are uncontrollable and as such there are high chances of causing smoke and haze. Agricultural scientist feels that the increase of such incidents of crop fire may be because Indian farmers are more dependent on combine harvesters which result in leaving short stubble behind. However, this practice of crop stubble burning is a huge problem all over India and is not limited to northern states of Punjab and Haryana only.

Recently Indian farmers are continuing with the practice of paddy burning. They are resorting to such method because it is unused as a fodder. But lately, the farmers are also practicing wheat stubble burning. Those states which have come under the red dots in the recently released map by NASA are mainly rice and wheat producing states. There are mostly two options for the farmers. First one is to apply the manual process. The next one is by combine harvesting. However, with a lack of skilled labor in this part of the world, the combined crop is becoming more popular among the farmers. So combined collection is becoming the latest trend to make the fields ready for paddy.

Mr. Hiren has in his report mentioned the fact that the main reason for such alarming rate of increase of crop fires is due to combined harvesting. Farmers are reluctant to employ manual labor and clear the residue. He has also mentioned that even it has become difficult to maintain animals, and thus the farmers tend to burn even wheat residue.

On the other hand, Ridhima Gupta, one of the researchers in ISB, Hyderabad has said that is very expensive to employ manual labor for such clearance rather than engaging the combined harvesting technique.