Smog reduced sunshine by an hour in Punjab: PAU study

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Stubble burning results in photochemical smog in every kharif season which is not only detrimental to human health, but also affects crop growth

Through Mohit Khanna, Ludhiana

Stubble burning reduced the amount of sunshine by over an hour during the Kharif season in Punjab.

This unscientific removal of paddy stubble results in photochemical smog which is not only harmful to human health, but also affects crop growth.

These are the conclusions of a study carried out at the Agricultural University of the Punjab, in Ludhiana.

Dr Prabhjyot Kaur Sidhu, who heads the university’s climate change and agricultural meteorology department, said the three-decade study found that the hours of sunshine were significantly reduced during the season. kharif.

“Now the burning of crop residues has made the problem worse. Due to the thick layer of smoke, sunlight does not reach the surface and we are seeing a reduction in sunshine of 1 hour and 6 minutes, ”she said.

Explaining the phenomenon, called photochemical smog, Dr Sidhu said it is a type of smog produced when the sun’s ultraviolet rays react with nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere.

“It is visible as a brown haze and is more prominent in the morning and afternoon. Previously it was mostly seen in densely populated towns with high emission levels, but nowadays it is also seen in villages in the Malwa region, ”she said.

Dr Sidhu said that Barnala and Moga districts in Malwa, which are witnessing a high number of farm fires, are also registering close to zero wind speeds, compounding the problem. “The wind speed in Barnala was only 1 kilometer per hour on Tuesday. It creates a closed room atmosphere, where nothing goes in or out, ”she said.

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