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NASA Shares Scary Image of How Pollution in Northern India Looks From Space

The image shared by NASA shows a river of smoke streaming from fires in Punjab and Haryana towards Delhi. (Image Credit: NASA)

The image shared by NASA shows a river of smoke streaming from fires in Punjab and Haryana towards Delhi. (Image Credit: NASA)

Farmers in regions like Punjab and Haryana use fire as a quick and cheap way to get rid of stubble, while making the land more fertile at the same time.

We all are aware of the pollution that engulfs Delhi and surrounding areas during the start of winter. The pollution levels in the national capital has been at alarming rates since the past few years. The pollution this year is so bad that it is visible from the space! Yes, American space agency NASA has shared a picture that shows the level of air pollution, and has identified the problem causing it. Photos tweeted by NASA Earth show “heightened fire activity in Northwestern India as farmers burn off excess paddy straw after the rice harvest.

Farmers in regions like Punjab and Haryana use fire as a quick and cheap way to get rid of stubble, while making the land more fertile at the same time. In a blog post, NASA said that while the lingering monsoon rains have kept fire activity at low levels for a few weeks longer than usual, on November 11, the agency’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite acquired a natural-colour image of a river of smoke streaming from fires in Punjab and Haryana towards Delhi. The blog post also said that fires in Northern Pakistan likely contributed towards some of the smoke as well.

“Looking at the size of the plume on November 11 and the population density in this area, I would say that a conservative estimate is that at least 22 million people were affected by smoke on this one day," Pawan Gupta, a Universities Space Research Association (USRA) scientist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center said in the blog post.

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In a Twitter thread, The Weather Channel India also explained the whole phenomenon, citing the image from NASA. “The images captured by @NASA underline the magnitude of the #StubbleBurning problem by depicting a massive “river of smoke" originating from fires in Punjab, Haryana and even north Pakistan, stretching towards Delhi," The Weather Channel India’s Twitter thread said.

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first published:November 27, 2021, 11:22 IST