Enforcing a ban will not end the menace of stubble burning, say researchers

  1. According to a team of researchers,stubble burning problem can be addressed by only educating farmers about the monetary costs of burning stubble.This can be done with the help of farmer cooperative groups who can play a more active role in educating farmers.
  2. Government efforts such as earmarking funds for specialised farming equipment (for straw management) and enforcing the state-led ban on the practice are unlikely to solve the problem.
  3. Further,researchers has said that farmers should not to be blamed for the pollution crisis.Farmers generally do not have time to let the previous crops residue (stubble) to decompose in the field to turn into compost. The high labour cost makes harvesting the stubble to clear the fields undesirable.Burning them in the field itself is the quickest and the cheapest way to get rid of them.Most farmers,therefore,prefer to defy the ban on burning and pay the penalty for it – which is usually less than the removal cost.
  4. Stubble burning is a common practice followed by farmers in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh in which farmers set fire to their paddy fields in order to get them ready for wheat sowing in November. Stubble burning results in emission of harmful gases such as carbon dioxide,sulphur dioxide,nitrogen dioxide along with particulate matter.
  5. In 2013,the National Green Tribunal (NGT) issued a directive to Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to take immediate steps to curb stubble burning.The Centre and states of Punjab,Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have declared “zero tolerance policy” on stubble burning.
  6. The Centre has spent about ₹600 crore in subsidising farm equipment via village cooperatives to enable farmers to access them and avoid stubble burning.Further,in 2018,the Punjab government drafted an action plan to deal with stubble burning.Under the plan,the state has decided to provide straw management machinery at 80% subsidy to the cooperative societies and other groups and at 50% subsidy to individual farmers.The state has also signed MoUs with major companies to set up Bio-CNG, ethanol and biogas plants using crop residue.