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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Delhi wants neighbours to use new technique to tackle stubble

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Delhi government's experiment with the bio-decomposer, which covered 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of farmlands in the national capital, has been successful.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: November 14, 2020 2:34:22 am
Delhi news, Arvind Kejriwal, stubble burning, delhi government, delhi air pollution, indian expressThe govt will request the panel to direct neighbouring states to spray a bio-decomposer to prevent stubble burning. Praveen Khanna

The Delhi government will file a petition with the newly created Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) requesting it to direct neighbouring Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to spray a bio-decomposer developed by the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) to prevent stubble burning. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Delhi government’s experiment with the bio-decomposer, which covered 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of farmlands in the national capital, has been successful. According to the Development Department, the gross cropped area in Delhi is around 34,750 hectares, out of which paddy fields cover around 5,848 hectares.

“I have with me the report prepared by the scientists of the Pusa Research Institute (IARI), assessing the impact of the bio-decomposer technique in 24 villages across Delhi. Many more villages were covered but the report looks at a sample. According to the scientists, around 70-95 per cent of the stubble had decomposed into manure within 20 days of being sprayed by the bio-composer,” Kejriwal said.
The contribution of biomass burning in the city’s PM2.5 levels rose to 42 per cent on November 5. According to data from SAFAR, on November 13, the share stands at 14 per cent.

“Now we have a solution and there is no reason to not act. Would the other state governments implement it or will people continue to suffer from pollution? This is very cost effective as well. We had to spend only Rs 30 per acre. The money required to carry out spraying can be set aside in the annual budget,” Kejriwal said.

“The Delhi government will formally file a petition in the CAQM…and will put forward its appeal for it to direct the other states to implement the bio-decomposer technique,” CM added.

So far, no concrete steps were taken to tackle this problem. Every year we only witness politics, verbal spats around this time. But very little work happens.

The spraying of the solution started on October 13. Stubble burning is a common practice in October and November across Northwest India, but primarily in Punjab, Haryana, and UP, to quickly clear crop residue from fields before planting the rabi wheat crop.

The practice affects the air quality of Delhi as long distance winds carry the plumes to the city, causing a spike in pollution levels, which already remain on the higher side due to vehicular emissions, open burning of waste, dust, fly ash from the coal-fired thermal plants in the city’s 300-km radius, among other factors.

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