Farmers are blamed for burning stubble and hence adding to the pollution level. We are aware that the burning of stubble increases harmful gases in the environment. With the onset of winter, Punjab and Haryana farmers are continuously under scanner for burning crops. This action of burning the stubble has many disadvantages. The question arises why are the farmers burning the stubble and if it is necessary, why aren’t they using any safer method for removing the stubble. There is a valuable justification behind it, you would like to know.
Why Do Farmers Burn Stubble
Paddy and wheat are important crops for the states of Punjab and Haryana. Farmers get very little time for sowing wheat after the harvesting of paddy. You would like to know the reason. According to the Punjab Preservation of Subsoil Act (2009), it is mandatory that paddy transplantation be done from June 20. It postpones the harvesting of rice crops which leaves very little time between paddy harvest and wheat sowing. The farms have to be made clear for sowing wheat after the harvesting. The burning of stubble is the fastest method to get rid of the crop residue and prepare the farm for wheat sowing, which can’t be delayed further.
According to a report, 20 million tonnes of rice stubble is produced per year and 80% of it is burnt on the farm.
Disadvantages of Burning the Stubble
Burning stubble seems the most suitable option to the farmers because they get limited time to prepare their farms for sowing the wheat. But this burning brings along a lot of harmful gases that raise the pollution levels of the atmosphere. This is considered a major cause of concern for all as the world is moving towards serious pollution tiers.
2. Harmful to soil productivity
By burning the residue crops, the farm soil gets deprived of microorganisms, earthworms and many other living organisms. These tiny beings are beneficial for soil fertility, their killing is a big loss to the soil. Productivity is reduced every time farmers burn stubble to clear the farm.
Burning stubble is a major factor in increasing the smog in northern India. Smog is the combination of fog and smoke. When residue crops burn, smoke is increased in the environment, thereby decreasing visibility and raising serious health problems including respiratory ailments.
4. Global Climate Change
Smog due to stubble burning becomes one of the causes of air pollution. This forms a part of the ozone layer close to the Earth, affecting the lives of living beings. Note that the ozone layer high up in the sky protects us from harmful UV radiation from the Sun. But, the ozone layer formed by such activities, near the surface of Earth is not good for us. We’ve seen a rise in many diseases from cancer, asthma to watering eyes in the last few decades. Stubble burning is contributing to Global Climate Change, which is now at a critical juncture.
The burning of stubble may not be the only cause of pollution but it’s indeed a big contributor. We should find a solution to avoid the burning of crops to control the pollution levels. Humans have travelled far when it comes to technology. The need is to understand the urgency and shift to safer methods of removing stubble.