The burning of crop residue is one of the major reason behind the sharp deterioration in air quality in north India. Suggest measure to prevent such instances.

Stubble burning is an agricultural practice used by farmers to prepare the field for sowing next crop, by burning the residue of the last crop. The issue with such practice is that the smog created by stubble burning pollutes the air. So it is very important to address the fundamental issues because of which farmers follow such practices. The prime factor behind stubble burning is that from farmers’ perspective crop residue do not have economic value so they find it convenient to burn.
Therefore merely asking farmers to stop the practice will not be the sustainable solution, there is a  need to find a mechanism to commercialize the crop residue. For example use of crop residue as input for biomass. In fact, NTPC has designed a plan to use crop residue as input for biomass, to be used along with coal in its power plants.The government can, therefore, incentivize the greater use of biomass through power purchase agreements.
Another solution is the use of Rotovators, the machines which spread the crop residue into the soil, which can improve soil fertility. In fact, harvester machines can be combined with the straw management system and government can subsidize the sale of such machines to make them more affordable.
Mr. Swaminathan(father of India’s Green Revolution) has suggested that paddy straw, a crop residue can be used to make animal feed, cardboard, paper, and other products.
Such commercialization of residue will not only address the environmental issue, along with that it will provide the incentive to farmers and will act as the additional source of income.

Question for UPSC Mains:
The burning of crop residue is one of the major reason behind the sharp deterioration in air quality in north India. Suggest measure to prevent such instances. TOI

Published: September 26, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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