AWARE­NESS PRO­GRAM ON AIR POLUTION IN PUN­JAB

Assocham Bulletin - - ENVIRONMENT -

The prob­lem of air pol­lu­tion has been gain­ing na­tional in­ter­est over the years, there­fore pol­icy mak­ers are deeply con­cerned with the odours and smoke that is badly im­pact­ing the health con­di­tion of one and all. There is an ur­gent need to re­duce air pol­lu­tion and im­prove am­bi­ent air qual­ity through vol­un­tary ac­tions by in­di­vid­u­als and or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to the study cond ucted by the In­dian Agri­cul­tural Re­search In­sti­tute (lARI) in 2014,coun­try gen­er­ated about 620mil­lion tonnes of crop residue, of which close to 16 per­cent was burnt on farms. Of this, 60per­cent was paddy straw, while wheat ac­counted for just 22 per­cent.

Over the years, it has re­al­ized that crop residue burn­ing in farms has been emerg­ing as a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor for air pol­lu­tion and Delhi also has ex­pe­ri­enced this dur­ing the win­ter sea­son since last few years.

Pun­jab alone pro­duces about 20 mil­lion tonnes of paddy straw and about 20 mil­lion tonnes of wheat straw. About 85-90 per cent of this paddy straw is burnt in the field, and, as the satel­lite im­ages show, wheat straw is also in­creas­ingly be­ing burnt in re­cent years. The root cause of the prob­lem is that farm­ers find it eco­nom­i­cal to bum their crop.

Gov­ern­ment should en­sure ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of NGT di­rec­tive of 2015 which will pro­vide ma­chines, mech­a­nism and equip­ment or its cost to the farm­ers to en­sure that agri­cul­tural residue in the fields to be re­moved, col­lected and stored at ap­pro­pri­ate iden­ti­fied sites in each dis­trict.

As al­ter­na­tive so­lu­tions for us­age of crops residues, it may be used in power plants, biomass gas plants, for pro­duc­tion of bio­fu­els and fer­til­iz­ers and oth­ers.

In this con­text, AS­SOCHAM in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Reckitt Benckiser (RB) led, 'Det­tol Banega Swachh In­dia cam­paign', launch­ing an Aware­ness Pro­gram I on Air Pol­lu­tion in Pun­jab' on 2nd Oc­to­ber, 2017. The ob­jec­tive of this pro­gram was to pro­mote aware­ness and prac­tice through be­hav­ior change com­mu­ni­ca­tion ac­tiv­i­ties by in­volv­ing Pan ch a ya ts, Cor­po­rates, MSMEs, NGOs, Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tute, Hos­pi­tals and other stake­hold­ers.

Through this pro­gram, Ini­tiall y, AS­SOCHAM will tar­get 2,11,000 peo­ple through 50 Camps and other out­reach ac­tiv­i­ties in 95vil­lages of Pa­tiala Dis­trict in­clud­ing Gov­ern­ment, Farm­ers, Stu­dents, Pan­chay­ats, MSMEs, Me­dia and other stake­hold­ers from Oc­to­ber, 2017- Septem­ber, 2018.

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