Monday, December 19, 2016

Karnataka Government Asks Farmers to Stop Burning Sugarcane Trash

As part of its smoke-management strategy, the Karnataka government has issued a diktat to farmers: Stop burning sugarcane thrash in the fields. The move comes in the backdrop of the recent Delhi smog which was fuelled by the burning of paddy straw in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana. In fact, the soaring pollution levels and falling visibility levels in the National Capital Region had not only set alarm bells ringing a fortnight ago but also triggered a blame game between the Delhi government, the neighbouring states and the Centre. The practice of burning sugarcane residue is rampant in at least ten districts across Karnataka.

Taking a cue from the Delhi episode, Karnataka has got into a prevention mode. Agriculture minister C Krishna Byregowda has commenced talks with farmers' groups. He has instructed the agriculture department's field units to stop farmers from burning crop residue. An acre of sugarcane produces around 4,000 tonnes of thrash. With sugarcane being grown on 12 lakh hectares in the state, the sugarcane residue is said to be around 50 lakh tonnes.

The agriculture department shot off a letter on December 12 to all chief executive officers of sugarcane-growing districts explaining the emergency. The missive stated: "Burning residue is not just a loss to agriculture but also pollutes environment and causes ailments and deaths. Air pollution in India causes more than 1,500 premature deaths per day; this is more than one death per minute. For 12 lakh acres of sugarcane in Karnataka, it amounts to burning 48 lakh tonnes of valuable organic matter. This will emit tens of thousands of toxic pollutants into the air." The department wants sugarcane farmers to use technology and convert the waste into manure.

Read the full report @ Times of India

No comments: