Rice straw burning forms black cloud over Gharbiya

The governor of Gharbiya Govenorate in the Nile Delta called on officials to try to stem the rising level of rice straw burning, state news agency MENA reported.

The move comes after Governor Mohamed Abdel Kader received satellite images showing that rice straw burning has produced a huge black cloud above Gharbiya.

The governor also requested daily reports from the officials to follow up on the matter in person.

In the last decade, Cairo and the Delta region have experienced “black clouds” — thick layers of smog that officials say result from burning rice straw in the Delta.

This month, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, a government research agency, said rice production in the country rose by 31.2 percent in 2010/11, reaching 5.6 million tons, compared with 4.3 million tons in 2009/10.

Experts say such production produces more than 30 million tons of waste each year.

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