NASA Images Show Fires in Large Parts of India! Is Crop Stubble Burning Responsible?
The map released by NASA earlier (Photo credits: NASA)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has revealed images of the country and they are scary! The image shows the country is catching fires mostly in the Northern states and it is a thing to worry about. The images are from the past ten days and they show red dots indicating major fires stretching in parts of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Madhya Pradesh (MP), Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh. They also show fires in some Southern states according to the report in Times of India. These fires are dangerous as they are intensifying the heat and causing black carbon (a component of soot with high global warming effect).

The weather in the country is already seeing an extreme of the seasons. The temperatures in the summer are already rising and these fires contribute to one of the effects. These fires could either be forest fires or mostly the crop fires. The ones in Central Maharashtra would be because of the practice of farmers to burn down the paddy subtle crops which remain after the harvest. Due to lack of labour, farmers are depending on combine harvesters, which the agricultural scientists are linking to the major crop fires. The map which marks the states in red dots are those which have high wheat-production. NASA had also released a photo on March 2, 2018 which showed a lot of forest fires in the Eastern part of the country.

Check the image released in March first week: 

"I suspect that the use of combine harvesters is increasing across the country. During my research, I found single most important determinant of burning crop residue is the use of combine harvesters. Farmers find it cheaper to burn residue than to clear it manually by employing labour. Also farmers are finding it harder to maintain animals or that fodder practices have changed, leading to farmers burning off even wheat residue. But this requires to be backed by research," says Ridhima Gupta, Indian School of Business researcher, who studied the economics of farm fires in Punjab. These crop fires account to almost 14% of the country's black carbon emissions.

The highest number of fires are seen in the state of Madhya Pradesh. This year 10 farmers were already detained for burning wheat stubble which had spread to nearby farms. The state's junior agriculture minister Balkrishna Patidar was quoted to the TOI, "We have been asking farmers to not burn crop residue as it is harmful not only for themselves, but also for the soil and environment. Still, the practice continues." The image from NASA points out how grave the situation is and it is time to adopt alternative measures against these fires.