Managing Smog: Prof M S Swaminathan


(An aerial view of Gurgaon,  near Delhi)

The harmful effect of smog has led to the ban on the use of crackers and fireworks in Delhi. A part of the reason for the smog is the burning of the residual rice straw. In this context, Prof Swaminathan has recommended ways by which stubble can be made lucartive for farmers while also being environmentally safe. 

Rice - wheat rotation is becoming popular and farmers would like to remove the rice stubble in time for sowing wheat. There are two ways of handling this – one is, the environmental destructive method of burning the straw in the field leading to smog. The other is to find economic use of the straw so that disposal by burning can be avoided. While Punjab, Haryana and Western UP are rich in rice straw, States like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh lack enough animal feed. Therefore, it will be ideal if the fodder deficient states would come to an agreement with Punjab, Haryana and Western UP to purchase the straw and make it a healthy animal feed by treating the straw with urea and molasses. If this is done, it will be a win-win situation both for the farmers and for the environment. We always adopt the “don’t” philosophy and not the “do” philosophy which I have been advocating for a long time.

(Pic credit: WikiCommons)