New Delhi, Nov 10 : Researchers have found a growing link between agricultural fire and air pollution with the impact of the former aggravating in the last decade.
Researchers at an international conference on forestry at TERI School of Advanced Studies found that surprisingly, agricultural fires have been the same on the Pakistan side of Punjab (Western Punjab), while the fires have increased in Punjab (India) since 2008.
There has been around 2 per cent increase in aerosol concentration in the last three decades. The black carbon concentration and absorbing aerosols over the Indo Gangetic plain has been increasing due to biomass burning and other activities which peak during post-monsoon seasons (October-December). This was recorded using satellite data products of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Multiangle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR).
Forests in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have been under constant stress from forest fires and this problem is now being tackled by providing early warning to forest departments from real time monitoring using high resolution remote sensing data.
Moreover, various initiatives have been taken by the Forest Survey of India to monitor and manage forest fires which include providing real time monitoring of forest fire and burnt area assessment through a geo-portal called "Van Agni".
According to the National Forest Inventory programme, 9.89 per cent of forest areas are heavily affected and 54.40 per cent areas are mildly affected due to forest fires.