Stubble Burning

#GS2 #Governance

Context

  • The bio-decomposer technique proved to be a success at curbing stubble burning in the Capital according to the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. 
  • He asked the neighbouring States to use the same to prevent pollution.
  • From October 10 onwards, Delhi will witness rising pollution levels till the end of November. The smoke generated due to stubble burning in Delhi’s neighbouring States contributes heavily to the rising pollution. 

Stubble Burining

Farmers' concern

  • After harvesting the paddy crop, a significant portion of the lower stem is left behind (residue). This leftover part is called stubble or ‘Paraali’.
  • After the harvest season farmers barely get 20-25 days to sow the next crop of wheat. They need to get rid of the stubble to clear their fields. The most convenient method infront of a farmer is to burn the stubble. 

Environmental impact 

  • Stubble burning is practised predominantly by farmers in north India. It releases harmful gases including nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere. In recent years, this practice has created vast smoke blankets across the Indo-Gangetic Plain and numerous neighbouring States, including Delhi. This directly exposes millions of people to air pollution.
  • As per a TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) report, in 2019 the air pollution in New Delhi and other parts of north India was 20 times higher than the safe threshold level as prescribed by the World Health Organization. Stubble burning also has a deleterious impact on soil fertility, destroys organic fertilisers and reduces ground water levels.
  • Stubble burning during a pandemic could worsen the situation by making lungs weaker and people more susceptible to disease. It could also impact those recovering from infection.

Solution

  • Pusa Institute’s bio-decomposer method is cost-effective and efficient.
  • The government had sprayed the solution on 1,935 acres of land in 39 villages.
  • According to most of the farmers, the stubble decomposed within 15-20 days. Previously, it used to take 40-50 days.
  • The soil had to be ploughed 6-7 times earlier. But with the spray, the soil needs to be ploughed only once or twice.
  • The composition of organic carbon, nitrogen, bacterial and fungi in the soil increased after being treated with the bio-decomposer. The stubble turns into a manure for the soil. 

Way Forward

  • State governments have to adopt the bio-decomposer method. 
  • Centre needs to mandate the States to use this solution. 

 

 

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