Delhi government mulls ways to use crop residue
NEW DELHI: With crop stubble burning in the neighbouring states of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh leading to high air pollution in the national capital, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal held a series of meetings in the last two days to find possible solutions for disposal of the crop residue. Delhi government on Thursday said Kejriwal met several agriculturists, entrepreneurs and industry experts to discuss the possible solutions for disposal of biomass that is left behind after harvesting paddy in Punjab and Haryana.
The CM met entrepreneurs working on producing CNG using paddy straw as raw material. Such a solution has the advantage of year-round demand, since CNG is an essential fuel across the region, the government said.
Conversion of stubble into coal, biofuel or paper pulp for producing various household and stationery items, ranging from file folders to paper plates, was also discussed in the meetings.
Over the past few years, Delhi has seen an annual spike in air pollution that could be directly linked to the burning of agricultural waste in the neighbouring states in October and November. Though this issue was identified a few years ago, no solution has been worked out so far with lakhs of acres of farmlands being set on fire every year, the government said.
Last week, a public health emergency was declared in the NCR following an alarming level of air pollution, which the AAP government said was because of stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana. With the air quality turning extremely unhealthy, the CM had invited several stakeholders to discuss the potential solutions that could be offered for eco-friendly disposal of farm waste.
Kejriwal maintained that the only way to put an end to stubble burning was to develop commercially viable processes to dispose of the paddy straw.
“Not only are ecologically friendly means of disposing parali economically viable, it also has the potential of massive job creation. All state governments and the Centre should consider the options available and work together to ensure that next year such an environmental disaster is not repeated,” the statement quoted experts.
Delhi government said the entrepreneurs agreed that only when eco-friendly disposal of stubble is made economically beneficial for farmers would they be incentivised to stop stubble burning.