New Delhi, Sep 28 (IANS) A PIL has been moved in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Punjab and Haryana governments to ban stubble burning, which usually takes place between September and December every year, against the backdrop of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The petitioners - law student Aman Banka and class 12 student Aditya Dubey, through advocate Nikhil Jain, contended that it is on record that stubble burning contributes almost 40 percent of air pollution in Delhi.
Citing the Harvard University study holding that air pollution may now be an important factor that aggravates a mild Covid infection into an acute one, the petitioners also referred to a study of the Louisiana State University, which found that increased air pollution can offer a direct pathway for airborne transmission of Covid-19.
"Thus, any increase in the air pollution levels of Delhi-NCR this year while the Covid-19 pandemic is spiralling out of control, will exponentially increase the mortality rates due to Covid-19, comprising the respiratory system of the citizens, more so in case of senior citizens and children," said the plea.
The petitioners argued that the consequences of allowing any stubble burning to take place amid the ongoing pandemic may be catastrophic.
Noting that the top court is already seized of the matter and issued many directions earlier for taking long-term measures for controlling air pollution in Delhi, the petitioners urged it to issue directions to state governments to stop stubble burning and also fix a ceiling on rental of stubble removing machines during September to January 2021.
The plea submitted the stubble burning season has not yet begun, but last week, farmers in Punjab and Haryana have started the practice, and evident in the pictures shared by NASA, which indicates 80 stubble fires.