Concerned over air pollution and other harmful effects of stubble burning, the Uttar Pradesh government is mulling a blanket ban on it in the state.
“Burning of stubble after the crops are harvested creates massive air pollution. This has an adverse impact on the health of the public.
“It also increases the temperature of farm land and kills a large number of friendly insects and soil bacteria,” Agriculture Minister Surya Pratap Shahi.
The minister said that in the past few years, stubble burning has created serious problems in various parts of the country ranging from smog to untimely rains, which harmed the crops.
“We are monitoring the situation very closely and planning to put a blanket ban on stubble burning across the state,” he told PTI in an interview.
Instead of burning the stubble, it would be wise if it is used as fodder for cattle, he said and added that state government would encourage farmers to cooperate in this direction.
He said reaper machines which harvest the crop by digging the soil must be utilised. “Farmers who do not have reaper machine must switch over to this machine within the next three months,” he said.
In November last year, the national capital was reeling under intense smog for days which even forced closure of schools. The poor air quality was largely blamed on stubble burning in Haryana, Punjab and other surrounding states.
The Haryana government had initiated action against 406 violators, while cracking the whip on farmers who defied orders against burning paddy stubble.
Many farmers in Haryana and Punjab have continued with the practice, adversely affecting environment and soil health.
Burning of paddy residue causes air pollution, smog and also poses a serious health hazard as it leads to breathing problems, allergies and asthma attacks.
It causes emission of toxic gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane and nitrous oxide and leads to poor soil health by eliminating essential nutrients, agricultural experts said.
Citing noted agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan, Shahi said, “Apart from using the stubble to make cattle feed, it can be used for making cardboard, paper and other products.”
A technology has been developed in Maharashtra for using paddy straw as animal feed.