Air To Everywhere – North’s fewer farm fires were thanks to tech, incentives & some good politics. There’s a wider green lesson

Source: The post is based on the article “Air To Everywhere – North’s fewer farm fires were thanks to tech, incentives & some good politics. There’s a wider green lesson” published in The Times of India on 2nd November 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Environment.

Relevance: About measures to tackle farm fires.

News: This year winter witnessed a significant reduction in farm fires in both Punjab and Haryana. North India’s citizens had slightly better winter air as well.

About the recent reduction in farm fires

Farm fires are down by 30% and 48% over last year in Punjab and Haryana respectively. This may be Punjab’s lowest farm fire count since 2012. This reflects the concerted attempt by Punjab and Haryana officials to deter farmers from setting fields on fire.

This is done by

a) In-situ straw management: This is done through super-seeders, which plough the straw back into the soil. Super-seeder machines gained popularity over the previous generation happy-seeders is a promising development.

b) Ex-situ baling of the straw for sale to biogas plants, industries with captive power plants, and fodder suppliers were heavily promoted this year.

c) Other measures: Centre’s Commission for Air Quality Management, in which the affected NCR states are stakeholders, has released ample funds.

The key then is to sustain these gains next year and the years after.

Read more: Stubble burning: Addressing north India’s burning issue sustainably
What needs to be done to reduce farm fires further?

ICAR’s bio-decomposer appeared to not find much favour, given the short window between kharif harvest and rabi sowing this year. This has to be promoted.

India should focus on even bigger environmental challenges. Such as weaning off coal, using a mix of technology, promoting government-backed incentives and funds to address environmental challenges.

Read here: Centre to help set up paddy straw pellet units to arrest stubble burning
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