Open field burning of plant material has been a long standing traditional agricultural practice by farmers and foresters. When farmers burn their agricultural lands, the products of combustion are emitted directly into the open air. Heavy smoke, consisting of particulate matter, from these fires clouds the skies.

Rice-wheat is a major crop rotation in the Indo-Gangetic region. Tillage is one of the major crop production operations and is an important contributor to the total cost of production. It is a common observation that direct tilling of any crop into combine-harvested rice stubbles from a reasonable rice yield is not possible without any prior burning or removal of straw.

Harvesting a crop generates a huge amount of crop residue. Uttar Pradesh tops the list of the Crop Residue Producing States followed by Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and so on. A large part of this crop residue is burnt in the open fields since the farmers do not have any worthwhile use of this waste. Burning of residues give rise to emissions of aerosols, major gases and trace gases.

The research and development community faces the challenge of sustaining crop productivity gains, improving rural livelihoods, and securing environmental sustainability in the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP). This calls for a better understanding of farming systems and of rural livelihoods,

World Health Organization (who) says over 3 billion people use solid fuels, including biomass

This study provides an account of the agriculture crop residue burning in Punjab during wheat and rice crop growing periods. Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS-P6) Advanced Wide Field Sensor (AWiFS) data during May and October 2005 have been analysed for estimating the extent of burnt areas and thereby greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from crop residue burning.

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