Agricultural burning is still a common practice around the world. It is associated with the high emission of air pollutants, including short-term climate change forcing pollutants such as black carbon and PM2.5
. The legal requirements to start any regulatory actions to control them is the identification of its area of influence. However, this task is challenging from the experimental and modeling point of view, since it is a short-term event with a moving area source of pollutants. In this work, we assessed this agricultural burning influence-area using the US Environmental authorities recommended air dispersion model (AERMOD). We considered different sizes and geometries of burning areas located on flat terrains, and several crops burning under the worst-case scenario of meteorological conditions. The influence area was determined as the largest area where the short-term concentrations of pollutants (1 h or one day) exceed the local air quality standards. We found that this area is a band around the burning area whose size increases with the burning rate but not with its size. Finally, we suggested alternatives of public policy to regulate this activity, which is based on limiting the burning-rate in the way that no existing households remain inside the resulting influence-area. However, this policy should be understood as a transition towards a policy that forbids agricultural burning.
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