Right now the problem of stubble burning will not be solved – know when pollution will increase – With the onset of paddy harvesting and crop residue burning season, the debate on air pollution has again intensified in the North-Western region, including the national capital. In a workshop organized by Delhi-based Climate Trends in Chandigarh, experts from Panjab University and PGIMER Chandigarh and representatives of respective pollution control boards and farmers discussed on-the-ground solutions.
“Crop diversification is not a long-term solution as it does not mean that biomass will not be produced by other crops,” said Kunesh Garg, member secretary, Punjab Pollution Control Board.
The secretary further added, “It will be another type of biomass waste, like cotton and mustard coming from Rajasthan to Punjab. The issue of burning this waste will always be there.”
He further said, “It is not that the problem is not being resolved, we are mapping it at the block and village level, but it will take 4-5 years for proper resolution of the problem.”
During the kharif season of 2022, paddy has been cultivated in about 31.13 lakh hectares, up from 29.61 lakh hectares in 2021, resulting in a production of 19.76 million tonnes of paddy straw this year as against 18.74 million tonnes last year .
Adarsh Pal Vig, chairman, Punjab Pollution Control Board, said, “There was a time when burning of biomass waste was recommended. As we have mechanized more in the last few decades, the problem has increased. The solution is ultimately to be adopted by farmers. Because it is a social and psychological problem, where the behavior and attitude of the farmers also need to be addressed.”
Industry officials present in the day-long session explained how there is no supply for procuring stubble waste from the fields to provide to the industry concerned.
There is scope for entrepreneurs to create a startup economy by setting up logistics. Industry players said there is a demand for aggregators. PLC/GT