Farm fires: Worrying spike in stubble burning in Punjab - The Tribune India

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Farm fires

Worrying spike in stubble burning in Punjab

Farm fires

WITH 877 incidents of farm fires reported across Punjab since April 1, and 83 per cent of them in just the first six days of May, immediate intervention is necessary to mitigate the adverse environmental and public health impacts of stubble burning in the region.



WITH 877 incidents of farm fires reported across Punjab since April 1, and 83 per cent of them in just the first six days of May, immediate intervention is necessary to mitigate the adverse environmental and public health impacts of stubble burning in the region. A major cause of this annual problem is the altering agricultural landscape, where the traditional practice of using wheat stubble as cattle feed is waning. Instead, farmers are increasingly turning to summer and spring maize, leaving wheat crop residue as a burdensome byproduct. This shift underscores the need for innovative solutions that align agricultural practices with environmental sustainability. Wheat stubble holds intrinsic value as fodder and soil health enhancer. Encouraging farmers to adopt alternative methods of residue management, such as mulching or composting, can reduce air pollution and enhance soil health as well as agricultural productivity in the long term.

Meanwhile, with regard to paddy straw disposal by burning, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) recently issued directives to Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to implement revised action plans and aim to eliminate the noxious practice this year. Notably, in view of the efficacy of Haryana’s strategies for a reduction in stubble burning last year, the CAQM had recommended their implementation in Punjab. Central to Haryana’s success was the provision of financial incentives to farmers, along with the deployment of flying squads by the Central Pollution Control Board for on-ground monitoring of enforcement measures.

While such steps are crucial for ensuring cleaner air the whole year round, their effectiveness hinges on robust implementation and support mechanisms at the grassroots level. Giving farmers access to affordable machinery for residue management, coupled with incentives for adopting sustainable practices, can spur compliance and foster a culture of environmental stewardship.

#Agriculture #Environment #Farm Fires #Pollution #Stubble Burning


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