As the national capital and the adjoining areas are reeling under a severe blanket of air pollution that is said to be caused predominantly by crop stubble burning, Eminent agricultural scientist M. S. Swaminathan suggested initiatives to set up rice bioparks to help farmers switch to cleaner methods to get rid of stubble.
In a series of tweets, The Father of the Green Revolution, recommended to adopt a do-ecology approach with farmers to convert rice stubble into income rather than making them agents of eco-disaster.
“In South India stubble is not burnt as there's economic value as animal feed. For years I pointed out many economic uses of rice straw. We should adopt a do-ecology approach with farmers to convert rice stubble into income rather than making them agents of eco-disaster,” he said.
Emphasizing that air pollution in Delhi has become a matter of public health concern nationally and internationally, Swaminathan that farmers are being blamed by many including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for burning stubble and thereby causing atmospheric pollution.
In South India stubble is not burnt as there's economic value as animal feed. For years I pointed out many economic uses of rice straw. We should adopt a do-ecology approach with farmers to convert rice stubble into income rather than making them agents of eco-disaster. 2/4— M S Swaminathan (@msswaminathan) November 4, 2019
He further suggested the Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh government to put up Rice BioParks where farmers can convert stubble into income and employment.
“We should stop blaming farmers since it will take us nowhere. Instead we should propose methods which are economically and ecologically desirable,” he added.
Recently, a rice bio-park was established by the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation at Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. It was funded by the Indian government. The rice biopark shows how stubble can be utilised to make products including paper, cardboard and animal feed, he said.
His reaction come as Delhi-NCR has been engulfed in a thick blanket of smog since Diwali on October 27 prompting the government to declare a 'public health emergency'.
According to the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation website, “The rice bio park concept was conceived by Prof M S Swaminathan. Rice is the major livelihood supporting a crop of Myanmar. However, farmers have been largely using only the rice grain and were wasting the other rice biomass. The straw at 1:1 grain to straw ratio is either burnt resulting in pollution or thrown away in many places. Farmers are unaware of the rich income potential from bio-mass, by creating value-added products from the straw, husk, and bran. The initiative, when it becomes fully functional is to increase the income of farmers and provide jobs in value addition with the goal of moving from poverty to prosperity.”