AWARENESS PROGRAM ON AIR POLUTION IN PUNJAB
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.