In another attempt to control stubble burning menace in the state, Punjab will now be exploring and studying the initiative carried out by Nagpur Municipal Corporation of using ‘agri-waste briquettes’ for cremations.
In a pilot project, Nagpur Municipal Corporation with the help of an NGO Eco-Friendly Living Foundation, has been using briquettes (small cakes made of agricultural waste and residue) instead of firewood for cremations for past two years. They are using briquettes made from agriculture waste like cow dung, soyabean and cotton crop residue among others. Replacing wood, agri-waste briquettes have made cremations pollution free and also solved farmers’ problem of disposing crop residue. Also, usage of briquettes is reducing the cost.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Manmohan Kalia, joint director (agricultural engineering) Punjab and nodal officer for crop residue management, said, “We had discussed this idea to use paddy and wheat stubble in cremations earlier as well with the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB). But the main concern was pollution caused by direct burning of stubble. However, pollution problem can be solved if we make briquettes and add materials like cow dung and other crops residue along with stubble.”
He added that there is immense scope to get briquettes manufactured from Ludhiana-based industry, but high investment cost is a concern. “We will contact Nagpur MC officials and study how they are working it out. We have received inputs from some people on how Nagpur is using agri-waste for cremations,” he said.
Wheat stubble burning starts; 212 fires captured
While earlier it was only paddy stubble burning that had Punjab officials on its toes after harvesting in October-November, now the trend to burn wheat stubble is catching up among farmers. Already 212 fires have been captured across Punjab as per the data provided to Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) by Punjab Remote Sensing Centre, Ludhiana.
As per the data from April 10 to 28, a total of 212 field fires were captured by PRSC through satellite imaging. The maximum 33 were captured in Sangrur followed by 26 in Bathinda, 23 in Fazilka, 18 in Ferozepur and 13 each in Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar and Patiala.