Land-use Fires and Smoke Pollution and in India

04 November 2015


On 30 October 2015, the Visible Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite captured this image of fires burning in the Indian state of Punjab. Red outlines indicate hot spots where the sensor detected unusually warm surface temperatures generally associated with fires. Thick plumes of smoke drifted from the hot spots. The smoke likely stemmed primarily from agricultural fires. Farmers often set fire to their fields to clear them before the growing season, which in Punjab resumes in November.
Source: NASA Earth Observatory

Comments by the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC)

Agricultural burning
burning in the Indian state of Punjab and further along the foothills of the Himalayas is a common phenomenon that is observed annually. In the context of the current regional smoke pollution in SE Asia caused by land-use fires in Indonesia (see GFMC Summary on Land-use Fires and Smoke Pollution in Indonesia of 03 October 2015) the smoke pollution on the Indian Subcontinent is receiving more attention than in earlier years.

According to a report of Bloomberg of 04 October 2015 the air pollution meter near the Indian parliament in New Delhi on Wednesday morning  recorded high levels of PM2.5 toxic particles that lead to respiratory diseases were 27 times the safe limit. The reading of 675 micrograms per cubic meter of air recorded by Bloomberg News exceeded the highest measured this year in Singapore, where PM2.5 levels touched 471 in October 2015 in the city state.

In September 2015 Science Team around Jos Lelieveld at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Germany, the parent institution of the GFMC, published the study:

J. Lelieveld, J.S. Evans, M. Fnais, D. Giannadaki and A. Pozzer (2015) The contribution of outdoor air pollution sources to premature mortality on a global scale. Research Letter, Nature Vol. 525, doi:10.1038/nature15371

This study reveals that air pollution causes more than 3 million premature deaths annually. The database of the research team reveals that more than 180,000 premature deaths per year globally are due to vegetation fire smoke emissions. More than 56,000 premature deaths are attributed to vegetation fire smoke emissions in India alone. See also:

 

Wildland Fire related news from the Media: Note: The hyperlinks on the left side of each news are password-protected (User ID and password to enter the GFMC database are
         available for partners of GFMC). The links on the right side (in brackets) are leading to the original news source; sometimes these news are expiring rather swiftly - a reason for the
         establishment of the internal GFMC database):


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