A young man whose family owns a small holding of land in Haryana explained the reasons behind crop burning to me. Till a few decades ago farming families like his had bulls to plough their land & turn the soil. It was hard work for both man & beast.
The crop stubble in the turned soil was used as fodder for the animal & the rest mixed with dung to bind the dung cakes. Then came tractors & threshers so the farmer found it more economical to dispense with the bull & instead hire machine & equipment every season.
So now -After the soil is turned by the tractor there is a problem in disposing off the stubble/fodder. There is no bull to feed nor cow dung cakes to make. Also the silica content in the fodder & the fuel spillover of the threshing machine makes it a challenge to sell it to those who still keep livestock….
Cost is the main hurdle. ~ When a single matchbox can do the job why would a farmer spend Rs 3500/acre ? ~was a quote in one of the articles I read.
Not only does stubble burning cause serious pollution problems but also destroys the earthworms, bacterial & fungal population – the ecosystem that helps in rejuvenation of the soil.
Shamefully experts & governments over the last few decades have fallen short of incentivising technological solutions to tackle this very serious problem that affects life, health & productivity of millions…..
Success stories such as Kalra Majra in Punjab must be highlighted. These farmers decided not to burn paddy stubble on 700 acres & ploughed it back into their fields. Not only did they nourish the soil but their yield also went up by 20%.
Green’ Diwalis are an embarrassing attempt to stomp out a forest fire with ones feet. Evidently the Centre & State governments have to first self educate, take up the issue on a war footing & then ENFORCEShort term saving now could mean spending billions on healthcare later …