Mitigating agriculture's contribution to air pollution in India
Pandey and colleagues highlight the health and economic impact of air pollution in India and urge central and state governments to provide longterm funding to prevent these adverse impacts. Agricultural residue burning is a major source of ambient pollution of particulate matter of 2·5 µm or less in diameter in northwest India during October and November every year when the air quality is especially toxic. Rice–wheat cropping systems dominate the agriculture landscape in the states of Punjab and Haryana. Farmers have a short window to harvest rice and plant the subsequent wheat crop since delays in sowing negatively affect yield and grain quality by exacerbating climate risks. To facilitate the transition between crops, many farmers prepare their fields by burning rice residues. The urgency of reducing burning in northwest India is underscored by a recent sharp rate of increase in burning across a broader geography in northern India.