|Demand of the question|
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. How stubble burning lead to air pollution? Various reasons for it. How cooperative federalism can avoid Stubble Burning?
Conclusion. Way forward.
Stubble burning is a post-harvest practice used to clear fields of paddy crop residue by burning them. This practice mostly carried out in Punjab, Haryana and UP contributes solely to the grave winter pollution in the national capital. For farmers, burning the residue becomes the easiest way of disposing it owing to lack of time, equipments and awareness. But this add up to the already poor air quality in India and is one of the cause of air pollution in India.
How stubble burning lead to air pollution?
- Stubble burning, results in emission of harmful gases such as carbon monoxide, N2O, NO2, SO2, CH4 along with particulate matter and hydrocarbons. Each tonne of crop residue on burning releases around 3kg of particulate matter, 60 kg of CO, 1,460 kg of CO2, 199kg of ash and 2kg of SO2.
- Also, Crop residue fires in Punjab and Haryana are enhancing concentrations of toxic gases like benzene and toluene, according to research from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER).
- Further, Stubble burning releases toxic pollutants like Volatile organic compound (VOC) in air. Also, it leads to spike in Particulate Matter levels, contributing between 12 and 60% of PM concentrations.
- Clouds of ash and smoke containing these harmful pollutants from stubble burning travel more than 1000 kms aided by the Westerly winds coming from the Mediterranean region and create an obstinate and non-clearing clouds.
- Smog formed of the smoke increase the levels of pollutants by manifolds in the air leading to poor visibility and causing accidents.
Causes behind stubble burning and its persistence:
- Paucity of time forces farmers to burn residue to clear the farms early for preparing them for sowing of wheat in the Rabi season.
- Farmers in this region have a traditional belief that burning crop residue will restore nutrients back to the soil.
- Mechanisation and employment guarantee schemes like MGNREGA have led to shortage of farm labourers to carry on seasonal migration from UP and Bihar to Punjab and Haryana, as was prevalent earlier. It has become more economical for farmers to burn stubble on field than getting it transported for other uses.
- Availability, affordability and awareness regarding crop residue management machines like ‘Happy seeder’ and ‘Super SMS attachment’ is inadequate.
How cooperative federalism can avoid Stubble Burning?
- Co-operation between states especially neighbours states is must to tackle the stubble burning issue. E.g. Punjab, Haryana and Delhi government must co-operate and act together against air pollution issue.
- Co-operative federalism is must to formulate a holistic and local integrated policy framed by state governments. E.g. Delhi and Punjab can work together to buy stubble from farmers.
- Centre-state co-operation is must in order to make funds, regulations and implementation of policies at ground level.
- Centre must work with states to frame a policy to tackle the issue of stubble burning and air pollution.
- The available paddy straw can be effectively used in market for power generation. States can provide markets for buying of stubble from other states.
The 2014 national policy envisages adoption of technical measures, including diversified uses of crop residue, capacity building and training along with formulation of suitable legislation, to deal with the issue of disposing of stubble. Unless Financial assistance is to be provided by the Centre for boosting farm mechanisation, it is difficult to completely stop stubble burning. States needs to make alternative arrangements for consumption of paddy straw into the soil as per the directions of the NGT.