Pushpa Gujral Science City organized a webinar on National Pollution Control Day on December 2, 2022. This event is organized every year on December 2 in remembrance of people who lost their lives in Bhopal gas disaster. This industrial accident occurred in 1984 when a poisonous gas Methyl Isocyanate got leaked during the intervening night of December 2 and 3 from Union Carbide Pesticide Manufacturing Plant situated at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
Dr R K Setia, Senior Scientist from Punjab Remote Sensing Centre, Punjab was the resource person. The topic of the webinar was “Assessment of crop residue burning using satellite remote sensing and the impacts of crop residue burning on soil health, air quality and human health”. He explained the principles of assessing crop residue burning area using thermal remote sensing and the satellites available to detect these. He said that compared with the year 2020 and 2021, the crop residue burning in Punjab during 2022 was lesser by 39.9% and 30%, respectively. Crop residue is an important and cheap source of organic carbon and nutrients required for plant growth, however, when these burnt are lost from soil affecting its health. His group at Punjab Remote Sensing Centre found that particulate organic carbon, an important source of plants for nutrient, was lower in soils with crop residue burning areas than non-crop residue burning areas. Dr Setia also showed the spatio-temporal changes in tropospheric gases during crop residue burning period and how air pollution leads to adverse health effects. He also explained the studies carried out by a team of researchers at MIT and Harvard University on the simulation of air quality impacts of crop residue burning in India and mitigation alternatives.
The webinar was attended by about 65 nos of school students and teachers from various parts of Punjab.