A team of Swiss and Indian researchers who interviewed 600 farmers over two years says, Only educating farmers about the monetary costs of burning stubble can address the environmental crisis triggered every year in Punjab.
About stubble burning:
Stubble burning is a common practice followed by farmers in the neighboring states Haryana and Punjab to prepare fields for sowing of wheat in November as there is little time left between the harvesting of paddy and sowing of wheat.
- According to the team, the government’s efforts — earmarking funds for specialised farming equipment (for straw management) or enforcing the state-led ban on the practice — are unlikely to solve the problem.
- Farmer cooperative groups — a key link between government and farmers — ought to be playing a more active role in educating farmers.
- The main message is that farmers are not to blame (for the pollution crisis).
- On average, about 20 million tonnes of straw are generated in Punjab, and they barely have two to three weeks to dispose them of and prepare the fields for the next crop.
- Delhi and the Centre have held this practice responsible for the abysmal air quality in the capital in winter.