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Agricultural burning threaten flight safety

Farmers burning stubble and straw on fields around Hanoi's Noi Bai airport are forcing planes to land and take off amid smoke.

October marks the rice harvest season in Vietnam, and soon afterward farmers clear up their fields to get them ready for the next crop. Burning the stubble remains the most common way of doing this. However, it's not the only method.

"The practice of field burning does not just cause air pollution but also affects pilots' vision during takeoff and landing, threatening safety,"

-Anonymous Noi Bai airport official.

Nguyen Thi Truong, a 60-year-old farmer from Hien Ninh Commune, said that she burns all the grass and uses the ash to fertilize the soil. The straw will be composted to use for the rice later.

The airport had last year coordinated with local authorities in Soc Son District to urge farmers not to burn straw near the airport. As a result, fewer farmers are doing it this year.

If pilots or air traffic control personnel detect farmers about to light a fire, they inform the local police. This helps to ensure the safety of airline passengers and crew.

A government decree issued in July this year imposes fines of VND2.5-3 million ($100-120) for burning crop residues and by-products in fields next to residential areas, airports and major roads. This is an important step in protecting the environment and ensuring public safety.

Source: VNExpress