What Is Stubble Burning And How Does It Impact The Environment?

Stubble burning is a common farming practice around the world and a major cause of air pollution. Read on to find out what stubble burning means and its impact on the environment.
What Is Stubble Burning And How Does It Impact The Environment?
What Is Stubble Burning And How Does It Impact The Environment?

Stubble burning is a common farming practice around the world and a major cause of air pollution. Read on to find out what stubble burning means and its impact on the environment.

Stubble burning is again in the news after reports of rising pollution in north India. Stubble burning is an old and outdated practice that is prevalent in the rice and wheat belt states of India: Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh. It is the leading cause of air pollution in the region, especially in the capital, New Delhi.

State governments are actively working to reduce and ultimately eliminate stubble burning, but there’s a long journey ahead. On that note, we bring you this comprehensive guide on stubble burning, its meaning, environmental impact, and alternatives.

What is Stubble, and Why Is it Burnt?

Stubble is the straw residue left after harvesting paddy, wheat, and some other grain crops. It remains on the field and takes a long time to decompose. Stubble makes it difficult to plant seeds for the next crop and disturbs the growing cycle.

Moreover, it is not edible for humans and is a poor source of fodder for animals. Stubble has other uses as well, but they are expensive and most farmers can’t afford them. Thus, stubble is a nuisance for farmers, and the only viable option left for them is to burn it.

Does Stubble Burning Have Any Benefits?

Stubble burning does have some benefits for farmers. It helps clear weeds, pests, and rodents in the field. It can also reduce nitrogen buildup. However, the biggest benefit and reason behind stubble burning is economics.

Collecting stubble, transporting it, and selling it is just not worth the time, effort, or money for farmers. They are already struggling with a low-income profession like farming, and adding more expenses to it is the last thing they need. Stubble burning is the quickest way of clearing the field before the next planting cycle.

How does stubble burning impact the environment?

Stubble burning has several harmful effects on the environment. It produces toxic gases that not only make it difficult to breathe for nearby residents but also significantly contribute to global warming.

Stubble burning emits pollutants like carbon monoxide (CO), methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2), aromatic hydrocarbons, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), resulting in smog. Stubble burning is the leading cause of air pollution in many parts of the world, including New Delhi.

Stubble burning also affects soil quality. The added carbon from stubble burning and the heat it produces reduce soil fertility and increase erosion.

There is also the risk of fire spreading out of control during stubble burning. Many farmers have even lost their lives to it.

What are the alternatives to Stubble Burning?

Stubble can be put to many other uses instead of being burned. Stubble can be treated to create biofuel or particle boards. It can also be used for cattle feed after a treatment, compost manure, roofing, packaging, and paper.

Fast decomposing bio-enzymes are also prevalent in some countries, which quickly degrade the stubble into manure and improve soil composition. One such low-cost microbial bio-enzyme, Pusa decomposer, has been developed for the Indian agricultural industry as well.

Get the latest General Knowledge and Current Affairs from all over India and world for all competitive exams.
Jagran Play
खेलें हर किस्म के रोमांच से भरपूर गेम्स सिर्फ़ जागरण प्ले पर
Jagran PlayJagran PlayJagran PlayJagran Play