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The Contribution Of Regional Stubble Burning To Air Pollution To The National Regional Capital

The issue of rising smog inflicting air pollution events within the National Capital Region –Delhi, India, throughout the month of November has been of concern for the last few years. Recent studies have used satellite observations and transport models, that indicates the movement of smoke from stubble burning regions in Punjab and Haryana towards urban centre and Delhi. Quantification of contribution of these emissions to the air pollution in Delhi, however, remains unsure. Within the present study, a similar attempt was created, and measurements are reported from sixteen ground-based continuous air quality monitoring stations (CAAQMS) in the Delhi-NCR for the years 2016 and 2017.

The predominant aerosols and others CFCs and pollutants over the study area throughout the episodic amount were verified to be absorbing in nature. The meteorological data which is very limited indicate that the low temperatures and high humidity conditions throughout the episodic period.

Introduction
Identification and quantification of contribution from regional air pollution by burning of the stubble is a major concern for many cities. In 2005 it had reviewed the regional air pollutants, their impacts on air quality and management of the urban areas. Agricultural biomass burning or the stubble burning, forest fires, dust storms and volcanic eruptions were identified as some of the regional sources of air pollution in urban areas.

To study regional transport, studies have reported that the use of satellite data, transport models and ground based observations is seen. During October-November a thick layer of smog was observed over the Northern India mainly in the Delhi region. More recently, 2018 have focused more specifically on the episodic events in the Delhi-NCR capital.The contribution of stubble burning in Delhi’s air pollution level is now increasing day by day.

SAFAR, the ministry of earth sciences air quality monitor said that there are 3,261 farm fires were seen over Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab. national aeronautics and space administration’s satellite imaging also showed a large, dense group of fires in Punjab, parts of these regions the only region Delhi escaped the impact of sever air quality is due to the favourable metrological conditions.

Wind speed ranged from 10-18kmph which aided dispersal but this can deteriorate if the high number of farm fires will still not be reduced and they persist. Their approach uses covariation, and the contribution of the regional pollutants are likely to be overestimated as the entire periodic enhancement is attributed to stubble burning activity, while the possibility of some local sources specific to the period of October-November may not have been given adequate consideration.

In the present study, Navy Aerosol Analysis and Prediction System (NAAPS) smoke data was used to study and quantify the contribution of stubble burning emissions to the air pollution in the Delhi-NCR. The government should aware the farmers about the pros and cons of everything and to adopt the new technology and implement comprehensive ‘no burning’ strategies at local levels.

The effects of stubble burning in the Capital:
Stubble burning in Haryana and Punjab regions is to blame for about half of the pollution experienced in Delhi in October and November, a peak stubble burning season in Punjab. It has some helpful effects too like it can reduce the nitrogen tie-up and it helps the farmers in killing the slugs and other types of pesticides. It has some harmful effects too like it losses all the nutrients from the soil, it produces smoke and there is a risk of spreading of the fires out of control. It affects the soil fertility by destroying the nutrients of the soil. It effects the economic development and the climatic conditions. It is hazardous to women and children as it has serious health issues.

A Harvard study has found this using satellite data from NASA. Many farmers in northwest India burn the crop residue or we can say that the stubble on the fields after the crop is fully grown and cut down, to prepare their fields for subsequent planting of the new crop for the upcoming season. To what extent the large quantity of smoke which will become smog after mixing with the upcoming fog of the winters emitted by these fires contributes to the already existing pollution in air in the Delhi has become a question.

For the past few years, every autumn in New Delhi, already covered with a thick layer of pollution due to which people in the vicinity gets engulfed choking smoke likened by many to a gas chamber with full of smoke. While crop burning has been unlawful for many years, there has not been a large enough preservative to effectively crack down on this hazardous practice because it’s been difficult to measure exactly how much smoke from this burning is making it downwind and the pollution to the city.

Researchers from the Harvard University and NASA have confirmed that in October and November, there is a peak burning season in Punjab, about half of all pollution in Delhi can be replant to this crop burning.

“On the days throughout the peak burning season, air pollution in Delhi is about 20 times higher than the peak for the fresh air vicinity as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO)," said Daniel H. Cusworth, a graduate student at SEAS.

To model how much of that pollution is coming from the fires, the study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, used satellite data from NASA to identify hotspots corresponding to active fires.

The team collected the available data for the burning season of October and November, 2012 to 2016 and plugged it into a particle dispersion model an algorithm that accounts for geography, wind patterns, and physics to predict that where these particles will go with the flow of the wind.

During the post-monsoon season, the air in northern India is particularly stagnant, meaning smoke particles moves freely in the vicinity into the atmosphere as they can be during other times of the year.

Instead, the black carbon particles and organic particulate matter slowly saturate throughout the entire region, which is home of 50 million people. In urban areas, that burning smoke in the air mixes with existing pollution from the cars and factories emitting a black deadly haze. On average if there are no burning particles in the urban Delhi experiences about 150 mg per cubic metre of fine particulate air pollution.

Definitive Solutions To Control The Air Pollution:

  1. Waste decomposer:

    The Indian scientists at the national centre of research for organic farming have developed a waste decomposer solution which would use the microorganisms in decomposing the crops residue.
    It is a very easy and economic friendly processes, it can be done just by spraying the solution on the plants before the month and leaving it for a month.
    Only in less than rupees 20 the stubble that will be spread on the farm and will decompose it within a month and also with any toxic fumes in the farm.

    Benefits of waste decomposers:
    • It is a very cost effective way for the farmers to get rid of stubbles
    • Its increases the fertility of the soil by making soil fertile by decomposing the stubble.
    • The level of organic carbon increases in the soil.
    • It has no side effects on the crop
    • It is cheap for farmers.
    • It kills the termites.
       
  2. Converting crop stubble into fodder for animals:

    The left over crop can be converted into the animal feeder and it is a very good to control the air pollution. This fodder to animals has shown us that with this feed there is an increase in the improvements in the milk production and health. The Punjab has propagated the technology in the state, the department of animal husbandry. The availability of crop residue is highest in the Uttar Pradesh. This practice is cost effective in nature but there is need to keep aware the farmers about the pros and cons of it to the farmers. There is lack of knowledge about it.
     
  3. Happy seeder:

    Happy Seeder is a new type of agricultural machinery is promising many benefits for the farmers. Happy Seeder is a kind of planting machine with S.M.S. mounted combine harvesters. A tractor mounted machine cut and lift the rice straws, sows wheat into the bare soil, and deposit the straws where there seeds are grown. It is a very cost effective process. It impacts on the soil damage, dangerous air pollution and limitations in yielding.

    By the reports its concluded that the women and children suffers the most in case of the pollution or any health related concerns, burning of these crops is a major contribute to more haze , so we can adopt this method as it is effective in burning the large volumes of crops. This method is able to plant wheat seed without becoming jammed by the crops. It lifts the crops, cuts the crops, improve soil fertility, conserve water, and reduce the harmful use of fertilizers.
     
  4. The conversion of stubble crop to biodegradable cutlery:

    The straw is treated as to form the pulp as it is treated as a natural solvent to separate organic polymer. This process is eco-friendly and sustainable, and these will work as biodegradable cups and jars. These compose high silica content but still farmers use them as animal fodders. This process use biodegradable chemicals, making the pulp with the help of machines. They are very cheap for the farmers.

    They can use these pulps in the paper based industries for making products like sheets, cups and other tableware. We can also use them for the production of foams and furniture items with the raw materials. This can be used to develop another chain of many value added products with economic friendly for farmers. It is pretty mixture of science with economics, society and environment.
     
  5. Use of stubbles for the production of biofuels and fertilizers:

    Crop residues or the stubble contains high concentrations of organic components, which returned to the soil in order to inhibit its fertility and yield potential of the soil. These can be used either in a distributed small scale unit or through organized commercialization for the production of fertilizers and pesticides. They can be used to produce biofuels. Now there is a less production of the bio fuels and bio masses based fertilizers. This needs to be expanded by incentivizing entrepreneurs for manufacturing this technology. The problem it faces is only of the commercialising the technology.

There is a need to prioritize the biofuel by mandating its use in the following sector:

With the appropriate policy interventions the state government with the help from the central government need to incentivize the utilization of biofuels. For example, higher levels of biodiesel can be made available commercially by permitting it for blending with regular diesel.

Summary:
The Punjab government has now taken the incentives to make zero stubble burning regions. It offers a 50% subsidy on the machines for cutting down the crops to the farmers and 80% for more corporative societies. It will be a great help for the farmers and will help us to reduce the growing pollution.

Last year, the supreme court of India had asked the Haryana and Punjab government some subsidies to the farmers and increase awareness of the alternative technology.
Government should also impose the environmental fine on the farmers and red entries were made against their land records.

It is difficult for farmers to unlearn what they have learned in their past life experiences. Alternatives to stubble burning are little expensive for farmers and they even don’t have much knowledge about the alternatives. There is a need to make aware the farmers about the new technologies and inventions of machineries suitable to their particular local conditions, with the aim that no burning is used. By the reports its concluded that the women and children suffers the most in case of the pollution or any health related concerns, burning of these crops is a major contribute to more haze.

The government should aware the farmers about the pros and cons of everything and to adopt the new technology and implement comprehensive ‘no burning’ strategies at local levels. We see many effects of various kinds and also the solutions for the same which will be effective and economic to farmers and also helps the environment to be clean and free from pollution. The mentioned initiatives can help the farmers and the people to lessen the amount of the pollution by the stubble burning.

Reference:
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231017306854
  2. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/agriculture/stubble-burning-a-problem-for-the-environment-agriculture-and-humans-64912
  3. https://www.indialegallive.com/top-news-of-the-day/news/stubble-burning-problem-solutions/
  4. https://science.thewire.in/environment/stubble-burning-delhi-air-pollution-supreme-court-lokur-committee-public-health-disaster/
  5. https://www.thebetterindia.com/202399/how-do-you-tackle-crop-burning-here-are-5-solutions-that-can-work/
  6. https://www.cgiar.org/happy-solution-clean-air-climate-smart-agriculture-india/
  7. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S037837741400211X
  8. https://swachhindia.ndtv.com/paddy-straw-to-bio-degradable-pape

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