Eco-friendly Management of Crop/Organic Residue to clear Smog in North-West India during Winter Season উত্তৰ-পশ্চিম ভাৰতত শীতকালত শস্য/জৈৱিক অৱশিষ্টাংশৰ পাৰিপাৰ্শিক-বন্ধুত্বপূৰ্ণ ব্যৱহাৰৰ দ্বাৰা ধুম্ৰ-কুঁৱলীৰ দূৰীকৰণ

Crop residues are natural resources with tremendous value to the farmers. These residues were used as animal feed, composting, thatching for rural homes and fuel for domestic use in early days. Now days, Large portion of these residues is burned in fields primarily to clear from straw and stubble after the harvest of the preceding crop. The problem is severe in irrigated areas, particularly in the mechanized rice-wheat system. The main reasons for burning crop residues in field include unavailability of labour, cost for removing the residues and use of combines in rice-wheat cropping system especially in the Indo gangetic plains.
Crop waste burning is very common in NW India (Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand and western U.P.) where rice wheat crops are harvested and threshed mechanically. Now days, crop wastes burning is spreading throughout country with popularization of combine based rice wheat cropping. 15-30 years back animals were integral part of family and all crop wastes were used as feed to the animals. Every house hold was having one compost pit in which all the animal and organic wastes were used to decomposed but with mechanization in agriculture activities like; ploughing, harvesting, sowing etc compost pits have disappeared in rural areas. Population of domestic animals has also been decreased significantly. Therefore, use of crop wastes as feed of animals decreased significantly. Recently, during Swachh Bharat Abhiyan people are also burning organic wastes throughout the India for cleaning of the places.
According to a national record, around 34 million tones of crop wastes are produced in Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and western Uttar Pradesh. 23 million tones crop wastes are burnt annually. Punjab burns 80 % of its crop wastes annually. This huge quantity of crop wastes could be converted into nutrient rich compost for sustainable farming. Estimation showed that 30-35 % of applied N & P and 70- 80 % for K remained in the residues of crops. Such nutrient rich crop residues required to be converted in to compost and other purpose.
Importance of crop/organic waste
Organic wastes are crucial part of the soil, providing food for soil living creatures; for plants in particular, it is a major source of nitrogen. Without it, soil would be just sterile rock dust. Organic waste is continually being broken down by soil creatures and by natural oxidation. In nature, it is replenished in the natural cycles of life and death. Humus is the final product in the breakdown of organic matter. It acts as a valuable reservoir of water and plant nutrients, and helps soil structure.
Viable solution to clear smog in NW India
CISH, Lucknow is engaged in trainings and demonstrations for on farm use and conversion of organic wastes in to quality composts for a long time. These crop residues can be utilized in compost production with any one of following methods.
i. Biodynamic compost
Biodynamic compost is an effective method of composting and is an immediate source of nutrient for a crop. Biodynamic compost heap can be prepared by using green (nitrogenous material) and dry leaves (carbonaceous material). The enrich compost is ready in 75-100 days in normal period depending upon the prevailing temperature and moisture.
ii. Vermicompost
Organic and crop wastes can be converted in to compost along with dung with use of earthworms. Earthworms are easily available in every part of country for production of compost.
iii. NADEP compost
It is a method of aerobic composting because of aerobic respiration, composting is fast and nutritional status of the compost is better than the ordinary compost. In this method of composting, farm wastes (Cow dung, green/dry grasses, wheat/paddy straw and weeds) along with good quality farm soils are used.
iv. Microbe mediated compost
An effective micro-organism consortium is used for fast decomposition of organic wastes, contains lactic acid and photosynthetic bacteria, yeast, filamentous fungi and actinomycetes etc. These are aerobic and anaerobic in nature and can exist in acidic and saline soil both. Farm wastes (Cow dung, green/dry grasses, wheat/paddy straw and weeds) can be used for production microbe mediated compost.
2. Use of crop/ organic wastes as mulch
Crop residues and organic wastes can effectively used as mulch in fruit trees as well as line sown crops. Mulching is helpful in weed management, reduces evaporation, minimizes soil erosion, maintains soil temperature and improves physical, chemical and biological property of the soil.
3. Use of rotavator in rice wheat cropping system
After harvesting of paddy as well as wheat ploughing of field with rotavator breaks crop residues in small pieces and further irrigation of field with jeevamrit or amritpani helps in fast decomposition of organic wastes. Jeevamrit/amritpani is bio-enhancers which can easily be prepared at the farm and used in crop production. It contains fast fermenting and beneficial microbes. In-situ decomposition of organic waste improves the soil as well as crop health.
With adoption of above practices, air pollution as well as motor accidents in NW India can be reduced significantly during winter season. These practices will also improve soil and crop health to make agriculture as profitable venture.

~Dr R A Ram, Principal Scientist (Horticulture), ICAR_Central Institute of Subtropical Horticulture, Rehmankhera, Post: Kakori,Lucknow,UP-226 101

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