Kejriwal explores solutions for stubble burning
After blaming stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana for air pollution in the national capital, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is now looking for possible solutions for the disposal of the agriculture waste that is left behind after the harvest of paddy crop. He has held several meetings with agriculturists, entrepreneurs and industry experts in this regard.
"Over the past few years, Delhi has seen an annual spike in air pollution that can be directly linked to the burning of agricultural waste in the months of October and November in the neighbouring states. Although this issue was identified some years ago, there has been no solution so far with lakhs of acres of farms being set on fire every year," an official statement said.
Kejriwal on Wednesday had said that it is technologically and commercially possible to convert stubble into CNG, adding "this will provide jobs, additional income to farmers and solve our annual problem of pollution. However, it requires all governments to come together and work on this."
With the air quality turning extremely unhealthy this year, the chief minister had invited several stakeholders to meet and discuss the potential solutions that can be offered for ecologically friendly disposal of farm waste, the statement said.
Kejriwal has maintained that the only way to put an end to the burning of stubble is to develop commercially viable processes to dispose off the paddy straw. Over the past two days, Kejriwal met with entrepreneurs working on producing Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) using paddy straw as raw material.
"With equity infusion or capital support, a viable economic model exists for large scale production of gas using stubble. Such a solution also has the advantage of year-round demand, since CNG is an essential fuel across the region," the government said.
Another model that Kejriwal studied consists of the conversion of agricultural waste into coal or biofuel.
"With its high calorific value and durability, this can also be an effective economic model. Both of the above solutions are tested models that are known to provide returns for entrepreneurs," the government said.
The third model, according to the statements, involved the conversion of stubble into paper pulp for the production of various household and stationery items ranging from file folders to paper plates. All such products have an existing market and are also easily biodegradable.
The air pollution in the city was so toxic after Diwali that the Environmental Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) had declared a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR and had advised people, especially children and the aged, to limit their exposure to the environment.
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