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This Cost-effective Alternative to Crop Burning is Eco-friendly Also and May Help Control Air Pollution

For as less as Rs 20, stubble spread on an acre of farm land can be decomposed within a month without leaving any toxic fumes.

Om Prakash | News18

Updated:November 1, 2019, 8:01 PM IST
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This Cost-effective Alternative to Crop Burning is Eco-friendly Also and May Help Control Air Pollution
Representative image.

New Delhi: Stubble burning in the adjoining states of Punjab and Haryana has become a huge health hazard for the landlocked national capital Delhi. The farmers in Punjab and Haryana prefer to burn the stubbles of harvested crops as it is seen as a cost-effective method as compared to other options of disposing off the stubble.

However, there may be a less-publicised but cost-effective alternative to stubble burning which has caused a huge public health hazard in the capital. With the air quality plunging to severe-plus category on Friday, a public health emergency was declared in Delhi, with the schools being closed till November 5. The smoke from the stubble burning has been attributed as the major cause of air quality deterioration.

Agricultural scientists at National Centre of Organic Farming have found an alternative to crop burning and it is called 'Waste Decomposer'. For as less as Rs 20, stubble spread on an acre of farm land can be decomposed within a month without leaving any toxic fumes.

Professor IK Khushwaha told News18 that a small box of decomposer which costs around Rs 20 contains 'plant-friendly' fungus which can benefit the farmers in at least five ways, besides helping provide a better environment for everyone.

Firstly, it helps farmers get rid of the stubbles in a cost effective way. Secondly, it helps increase fertility of the soil by decomposing the stubbles. Thirdly it increases the levels of organic carbon in the soil. Fourthly, it helps battle termites. And lastly it has been tested to leave no harmful side effects on crops.

For farmers in Haryana, the government is providing a 50% subsidy on this decomposer which will allow farmers to buy it for as less as Rs 10, which is significantly cheaper than the other available solutions in the market.

On Friday morning, the overall air quality in Delhi-NCR deteriorated to 425, falling in the “severe” category, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR). Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the national capital has turned into a “gas chamber” due to crop burning in neighbouring states.

The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) declared a public health emergency in Delhi-NCR and banned construction activity till November 5. Kejriwal also announced that all schools in the Capital will remain closed till Tuesday.

The EPCA has also asked implementing agencies to take immediate stringent action to stop stubble-burning in Punjab and Haryana. Stubble-burning in the neighbouring states has been one of the major contributors to pollution in the national capital. On Thursday, stubble-burning in Punjab and Haryana contributed to 27% pollution in Delhi, while on Wednesday the contribution was recorded at 35%, the highest so far.

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