Stubble burning is the act of igniting crop residue in order to remove it from the field in order to sow the next crop. Farmers in Haryana and Punjab must move quickly in order to plant the following winter crop (Rabi crop), and if they are late, they may suffer significant losses due to the short winters these days. As a result, burning is the most cost-effective and time-efficient method of removing stubble. Pests such as termites may harm the future crop if Stubble is left in the field. Farmers’ dire economic situation prevents them from using expensive mechanised ways to remove stubble. It begins in October and peaks in November, corresponding with the departure of the southwest monsoon.
- The problem comes as a result of the usage of mechanised harvesting, which leaves several inches of stubble in the fields.
- Late paddy transplanting during the Kharif season to reduce water loss, as ordered by the PPSW Act (2009), has left farmers with little time between harvesting and preparing the field for the following crop, and as a result, farmers are resorting to stubble burning.
- Because of its high silica concentration, rice straw is regarded ineffective as feed in the case of non-basmati rice.
- Farmers used to use their excess produce for cooking, as hay to keep their animals warm, or even as extra insulation for their homes.However, the employment of stubble for such reasons has since become obsolete.
- With the passage of the Punjab Preservation of Subsoil Water Act (2009), the period of stubble burning coincided with the arrival of winter in Northern India.
- Pollution: Open stubble burning generates high levels of toxic pollutants into the atmosphere, including dangerous gases such as methane (CH4), carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOC), and carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
- Heat Penetration: The heat created by stubble burning enters the soil, causing moisture and beneficial bacteria to be lost.
- Soil Fertility: Burning husk on the ground depletes the soil’s nutrients, making it less fertile.
- After being released into the atmosphere, these pollutants disperse throughout the surrounding environment, where they may undergo physical and chemical transformations, eventually harming human health by forming a thick layer of smog.
- Crop residue management using a zero-tiller machine
- Turbo Happy Seeder (THS) machine, which can uproot the stubble as well as plant seeds in the cleared area. The stubble can then be used as field mulch.
- Changing the Cropping Pattern
- Use of bio-decomposers.
- Ex-situ (off-site) treatment, such as using rice straw as calf feed.
Imposing a fine will not work in our socioeconomic situation to reduce stubble burning. We must concentrate on alternate options. Despite the fact that the government is distributing, not everyone is receiving machines for in-situ management. The government should make sure that they are available to everyone. Similarly, some companies in ex-situ management have begun collecting stubble for their use, although more effort is required on this front. Small and marginal farmers, in particular, require assistance in adopting in-situ techniques, such as mulching straw into the soil rather than burning it. Penalty without access to solutions is ineffective.
How to structure:
- Give an intro about stubbles and stubble burning
- Discuss the reasons for stubble burning
- Suggest measures and conclude