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End to crop residue burning sought as stubble smoke affects flight visibility at Hanoi airport

Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 16:10 GMT+7
End to crop residue burning sought as stubble smoke affects flight visibility at Hanoi airport
Smoke from burning crop residues is seen near Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on September 15, 2019 in this still image taken from CCTV.

The Northern Airports Authority has called for help from authorities as smoke caused by local farmers’ stubble burning has been blocking the view of pilots on landing at a major airport in Hanoi.

It is common practice for rice farmers in Vietnam to set their fields, where only crop residues are left after harvest, on fire to ‘clear’ the paddies and prepare for a new crop.

Farmers in five communes of Hanoi’s Soc Son District started to follow the post-harvest practice last week, leaving air in the area constantly filled with smoke belched out by the stubble burning.

As the communes are in the vicinity of the airport, the Northern Airports Authority has proposed that the Soc Son District administration stop farmers from burning stubble as the smoke has been affecting flights landing at Noi Bai.

There have been two particular cases where burning crops resulted in thick plumes of smoke that caused difficulties for pilots as they were landing at the airport, the Northern Airports Authority said in a document sent to Soc Son administrators.

The first incident took place at around 12:30 pm on Sunday at a rice field in Thanh Xuan Commune, close to the V6 Gate of the airport, while the second burning occurred at 7:14 am on Monday on a paddy in Quang Tien Commune, near the V8 Gate.

The Northern Airports Authority and the management of Noi Bai International Airport, with help from some locals, had to put out the stubble fires to prevent the dense smoke from blanketing the airport.

The airport authority demanded that the Soc Son administration "educate" local farmers and ask them to put an end to the practice of stubble burning in the future to ensure safety for flights at Noi Bai.

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