TODAY -

Burning hay/straw is suicidal for both farmers and environment

N Munal Meitei *



In Manipur, itís time for harvesting. Everywhere long spirals of smog are seen from hay straw burning. But straw burning is illegal and it affects soil fertility, moisture, organic matter, microbial population and pollute air, leading to environmental degradation.

The unhealthy acts of straw burning were not seen in the past. On the harvesting day itself, people used to make bundles & collect and carry in heaps to their homesteads for fodder and other purposes. But now people hardly rear cattle and also due to lack of spaces, hay straw are burnt to save labour, time and wages. People also have less knowledge about the benefits and environmental determinants from straw burning.

Thus, burning at the harvesting site itself is a common practice in the State and country.

Hay straw burning reduces visibility, worsening air quality and endangering public health. The added carbon from straw burning and the heat it produces reduce soil fertility and increase erosion. Burning leads to a rise in ground temperature, as a result, the soil dries up, necessitating additional water for irrigation. Livestock, too, is impacted by hay burning. It has been found that milk production falls up to 50% during the two months of stubble burning.

Hay straw burning decreases soil and nitrogen, 25% of phosphorus, 20% of potassium and 5-60% of sulfur. A study on straw burning, 84.5 percent of people were suffering from health problems due to the increased incidence of smog. 76.8 percent of people expressed eye irritation, 44.8 percent in the nose and 45.5 percent throat irritation. Another study by the Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bengaluru, found that every year in rural Punjab people spend Rs 7.6 crore on treatment for ailments caused by stubble burning.

The practice of stubble burning around October raises the concentration of particulate matter (PM) in the air to 1,000 micrograms per cubic meter. This particulate pollution in Delhiís air spikes 20 times above safe levels given by WHO. Every year in North India during October and November the risk of getting a respiratory infection goes up by thrice as much as any other season.

The countryís rice production is about 8 tons/ha. Rice straw burning showed a release of 11 tons of CO2-equivalent per ha of land. Our country produces 152.2 million tons of rice and126.6 million tons of rice straw and 60% of them are burnt on the field annually.

When straws are scattered in the field during land preparation, they maintain soilís nutrients and moisture. Every tons of rice straws can increase soilís nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, silicon, and carbon.

They also preserve the biodiversity of microorganisms that helps in nutrient cycling and efficient fertilizer utilization. Rice straws can also be used as mulch to protect the roots of the plants from heat and cold and reduce the evaporation rate. They also prevent weeds from growing in the paddy field.

In Manipur in the absence of viable industries, agriculture is the main occupation with about 82 % of the total population. Major part of Stateís domestic product and employment up to 22.13% (2011 census) of the work force are in agricultural sector.

Out of 22,327 sq km geographical area, 12.98% is used for cultivation and 52% of it is confined in the valley. The total cultivated area of the State is about 2,89,500 ha in which about 82% are utilized for paddy.

A rough grain to straw ratio is about 1.0 to 0.8. In Manipur, the average rice yield is as high as 6.2 to 6.6 tons per ha or pari and the subsequent hay stubble production is about 5.2 tons. Therefore, our State produces 15,05,400 tons of hay straw annually.

Incineration of agricultural residue contributes to 7% of total PM2.5 emissions in the country. Rice fields produce around 22,289 gigagrams of residue annually and 13,915 gigagrams (62.42%) is set on fire. Haryana and Punjab contribute to 48% of the total stubble burning and releases 4,47,19,000 kilogram of total particulate matter (TPM) in India.

Burning crop residue is a crime under Section 188 of the IPC and under the Air and Pollution Control Acts, 1981. National Green Tribunal directs all State Governments to take up for coercive and punitive action against stubble burning. The penalties are; farmers with below 2 acres land while on burning have to pay Rs. 2500, 2 to 5 acres Rs. 5000 and more than 5 acres for Rs. 15000 as environmental compensation. But in Manipur no such implementation is seen.

In other parts of the country, the farmers still burn and prefer to pay the fines because paying fines save them more than to keep the NGT norms. Therefore, it is important to address their fundamental problems.

While on hay stubble burning, the loss of nutrients per ha amounts to 339 kg Nitrogen (N 2 ), 6 kg Phosphorous (P), 140 kg Potassium (K) and 11 kg Sulphur(S) and many soil beneficial nutrients. Therefore with this rate, the total loss of nutrients in Manipur would be around 80.50 million tons N 2, 1.42 million tons P , 33.22 million tons K and 2.61 million tons of Sulphur over and above many more important trace elements annually.

The heat while on straw burning penetrate about 1 cm into the soil, elevating the temperature from 33.8įC to 42.2įC killing the bacterial, fungal and earthworm populations which enhance soil fertility. The amount of greenhouse gases emitted, when 1 ton of stubble is burnt are 2 kg of SO 2 , 60 kg CO, 4-7 kg CH 4, 1460 kg of CO 2, 3 kg particulate matters and 199 kg of ash. These are the pollutants that hamper the climate which hindered our seasonal rainfall every year.

At the same time, if we could allow them to decompose without burning somewhere at a corner of the paddy field, then the soil could get back 156 - 170 kg Nitrogen, 10.15 - 20.75 kg Phosphorus, 66 - 70 kg Potassium and 5 - 5.70 kg Sulphur from the hay straw of 1.25 acre paddy field. Thus, the total nutrients saving in Manipur would be around 113.6 million tons of NPKS annually. While burning the heap up stubble near the trees along the roadside also kill the valuable plants.

To save hay straw, State Government may plan to establish the industries which utilize the hay straw for various purposes, like producing ethanol, paper and packaging material, biochar, compost, mushroom, fuel-briquette, fuel-pellets, pulp, animal-feed, eco-panel, erosion-control material and in-situ addition in conservation agriculture.

The other method involves use of hay straw for biomass energy plants to generate electricity. In Punjab, thirteen such plants have been established. In Manipur also, we may innovate for such power generating plants which will surely reduce the environmental problems and social impacts.

Rearing of cattle is another option, because hay straw is a good fodder for cattle.

Mushroom cultivation also known as protein cultivation is one of the most prospective eco-friendly practices to fight unemployment and malnutrition. Rice straw which contains 41% cellulose, 14% lignin, 0.8% nitrogen, 0.25% P 2 O 5, 0.3% K 2 O, 6% SiO 2 and with pH 6.9 is best for mushroom cultivation. The waste vermicompost is one of the best organic fertilizer.

The soil health is our future life. While the plants are stout and strong, no disease including wahik can attack.

Therefore letís not burn the hay straw but utilize it to uplift the rural economy and to save the environment.


* N Munal Meitei wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is an environmentalist and can be reached at nmunall(AT)yahoo(DOT)in
This article was webcasted on 14 November 2023.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #24: Download
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • Shaheed Memorial Football Final : Gallery
  • O, Martyrs, Martyrs
  • Remembering the fire at Sainik School Imphal
  • Meephamlen & Life Time Achievement
  • Program: Youth Leadership & Development
  • 7 facts about ancient Goddess Panthoibi
  • Myanmar border fencing; arson in CCpur
  • Research Officer- Financial @ Amethyst
  • Exploring nutritional virtues of maternal milk
  • Fine dining with flavours of Northeast
  • ST categorisation : Not the job of judiciary
  • Growing demand for abrogating SoO pact
  • Save Manipur : Protest [Feb 15] #2 : Gallery
  • Agro forestry for sustainable agriculture
  • Relief materials & interaction at Kangpokpi
  • Exodus from Myanmar justify 'border fencing'
  • Earth Civilization :: Poem
  • Enhancing domestic fish consumption in India
  • Growing call to abrogate SoO pact
  • Acquitting the criminal, penalising the victim
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #7 :: Book
  • Recipe for a full fledged civil war
  • Health Camp at Santhong Relief Camp
  • Farming- loss-making but MSP is not practical
  • Magic ingredients for radiant & flawless skin
  • First Assam LitArt Festival concludes
  • Silence of the guns, for the moment
  • A brighter side of the conflict
  • Interview with Naorem Roshibina (Wushu)
  • Memo to Chief Minister : The Way Forward
  • Best wishes to all students of classes 10th
  • The Power of Poppy - 20 :: Poem
  • Boost student retention power for board exam
  • Claiming ancestral rights over Thangjing
  • Indeed, no comparison with Manipur violence
  • Radio E-pao :: Contemporary (350+ songs)
  • Arambai Tengol & SFs #4 : Gallery
  • Rising above adversity for excellence
  • 7 facts about Meitei Goddess Nganu Leima
  • 149 experts call to find all TB to stop TB
  • Resilient tourism for vibrant career
  • Non-stop assault on Sugnu : The pattern
  • Nearly 5mn candidates for 60k posts
  • Folktales of Manipur 2.0
  • Nothing to kill or die for
  • The Kutsapo Proclamation
  • Nagas oppose border fencing with Myanmar
  • Great game for peace and security
  • IIT Delhi at Abu Dhabi
  • Restraining armed forces vis- Kuki militants
  • Drawing the battle line for Moreh at last
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #23: Download
  • Aira Thoudam - coveted scholarship in Egypt
  • Condemns violence committed in CCpur
  • Last Smile of our Fallen Comrade : Poem
  • Sachinker ties knot with Raina Rajkumari
  • Complex challenges & calls for resolution
  • Save Manipur : Protest [Feb 15] #1 : Gallery
  • Sonia Nepram at 74th Berlinale, Germany
  • Manipur: Best AIFF Grassroots Award 2024
  • Children struggling tough competition
  • Reliance Foundation partners with NSDC
  • Bigger agenda behind CCpur protest
  • When Frankenstein acts as a law unto itself
  • A Cloud in Trousers : A translation #4
  • Manipur imbroglio and our lessons
  • The Living Song :: Poem
  • Entries : Mumbai International Film Festival
  • MG Motor India's new facility in Silchar
  • Self-funded Rail budget earns profits
  • Points Imphal should lay before Delhi
  • Dissenters not to go down without a fight
  • Art Exhibition @ RKCS Museum #5 : Gallery
  • Article 371 C aggravates ethnic divide
  • Into the lap of nature : Udupi #2
  • Delhi's dance with Meitei-Kuki conundrum
  • 'Vividhata ka Amrit Mahotsav' in Delhi
  • 2024 may pose challenges in 11 States
  • FMR scrapped, border fencing assured
  • Time to take a final call
  • Legacies of the Khamba-Thoibi classics
  • Transforming education in Manipur
  • The Power of Poppy - 19 :: Poem
  • Beauty tip to look awesome- Valentine's Day
  • Towards understanding of human journeys
  • If them then why not the Meiteis ?
  • Ensuring basic rights of conflict children
  • 75th Republic Day @ Kangla #2 : Gallery
  • Bambam Thounaojam - MMA World Champion
  • Distress Relief @ Sugnu [Jan] : Gallery
  • Manipur's struggle for peace amidst tension
  • Hold govts to account for ending tobacco
  • Meghalaya Cancer Conclave 2024
  • Not the time to take political mileage
  • Way off the mark
  • Abnormal population growth of Kuki from 1881
  • May 3 violence :: Poem
  • Bharat-Burma border barbed
  • Importance of STEM careers for girls
  • Development of mental health in school
  • Displaced children in relief camps
  • Is it the end of Kuki-AR honeymoon period ?
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #22: Download
  • Manipur Technology Innovation Hub Startup
  • As Time Ticks Away :: Poem
  • Architecture & design confluence - BAIC
  • UG Scholarships 2023-24 results announced
  • Occupational therapy role in erb's palsy
  • National Voters' Day @ Lamphel : Gallery
  • Into the lap of nature : Udupi #1
  • Stop disrespect for places of worship
  • IBSD & NBRC joined hand for research
  • MedTech Mitra : A facilitation highway uptake
  • First edition of Assam LitArt Festival
  • Weed out the illegal immigrants
  • Behind and beyond the rhetoric
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #6 :: Book
  • Training on cultivation of mushroom at Tera
  • Workshop: Exploring genomic resources of NE
  • India-Australia Partnership in Education
  • Why a new dawn of development in NE
  • Healthy Hair : keep it healthy
  • Beyond scrapping FMR
  • The letter of WKZIC to ADB
  • A Northeasterner's Reflection on India
  • Feathers of different birds flock together
  • Manipur : 9 months into endless killings
  • Call to make Big Tobacco pay for health
  • Mahotsav : Richness of Northeast India
  • Noting the call from AMCO
  • Not enough to rest assured anyone
  • Resilience in adversity | Kumbi : Gallery
  • Why effective treatments for TB not out
  • Cease the strife :: Poem
  • Balancing mental well-being of students
  • FM Hi debt funds Rs 45 tr budget
  • Submission of admission, apology
  • Unveiling the mask of Kuki MLAs once again
  • Arambai Tengol & SFs [24 Jan] #3 : Gallery
  • Lessons from Manipur on vigilantism
  • Exposure to air pollution can lead to cancer
  • Interim budget: Need comprehensive reforms
  • From exam stress to success
  • Adding more teeth to the silence
  • Still, a far-off land for Mr Prime Minister
  • A Cloud in Trousers : A translation #3
  • Dissecting the strength of Kukis #2
  • Self Defence Training : for school girls
  • Bharat Ratna for the Mandir man
  • Desi remedy for farm sector
  • Noting the words of caution from UNC
  • The best way to settle Thangjing issue
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #21: Download
  • Maharaj Gambhir Singh #2: Gallery
  • To Our Fallen Village Volunteers :: Poem
  • "It's Not My Choice" triumphs in every aspect
  • Jamir congratulates Advani for Bharat Ratna
  • Climate change needs to be taught
  • 75th Republic Day @ Kangla #1 : Gallery
  • Management fest at Assam University
  • Transformation from adulthood to parenthood
  • NEP's vision is to make India competitive
  • 35th Road Safety Campaign in North East
  • Budget - Welfare with Fiscal Discipline
  • Understanding call against lifting FMR
  • Nine months and counting
  • Statue in front of Western Gate, Kangla ?
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 : Review
  • Auditions: 20th Mega Miss North East
  • Face scrubs for glowing skin
  • Auditions: 13th Mega Mister North East
  • Seaweed: Sea of opportunities
  • Continuing clash: Dialogue the way forward
  • The truth behind the objection
  • Gaan-Ngai at Keishamthong #2 : Gallery
  • Dissecting the strength of Kukis #1
  • Gandhiji's Three Monkeys
  • 8th Northeast Fashion Week concludes
  • The Power of Poppy - 18 :: Poem
  • Career in clean energy for sustainability
  • State's response vis-a-vis Manipur crisis
  • The cries of crisis-hit farmers
  • February Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • Parental support to manage children's stress
  • Stop construction of oil Depot in Kangchup
  • Ramji's consecration may calm us
  • JioAirFiber services to cover entire NE
  • State & war on civilians : Failures
  • Trying to stay relevant
  • Protests attack @ Moreh [18 Jan] #2: Gallery
  • Seeking solutions, not scapegoats: Response
  • Gaan-Ngai celebration at Delhi
  • Citizens Action for Manipur : Launch
  • Support & Distress Relief at Sugnu
  • Bijou Thaangjam announces Film with Yogesh
  • Redefining matrimony: Prioritizing character
  • Digital Dentistry launched in Guwahati
  • Demand for ST tag: Let authority decide
  • A 'silly' option to end crisis
  • Handloom- loom other than Powerloom #4
  • Support of 8 murdered civilians : Gallery
  • Rs 6.48 lakh to families of 8 murdered civilians
  • Hiring: Hostel Wardens at SAS Manipur
  • Indo-Naga Talks (From 2012) :: Timeline
  • Clarion call to Hon'ble CM
  • Blame on State forces: Propaganda warfare
  • The declarations of ITLF
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #20: Download
  • Release of Annual Calendar 2024 at Pune
  • Machihan Sasa honoured with Padma Shri
  • Painting : World Cervical Cancer Month
  • Where Do We Stand Now? :: Poem
  • Scope as Asst Enforcement Officer
  • Gaan-Ngai at Keishamthong #1 : Gallery
  • Relief Service @ 16 relief camps : Gallery
  • Lan Nangda Loiroba ! A musing
  • 75th Republic Day at Lamphel Court
  • Manipuri Dance at Republic Day at Chennai
  • Transforming education, building our future
  • Arambai Tengol & SFs [24 Jan] #2 : Gallery
  • Arambai Tengol & SFs [24 Jan] #1 : Gallery
  • Protests attack @ Moreh [17 Jan] #2 : Gallery
  • Final Photo Electoral Rolls for 2024
  • Protests attack @ Moreh [18 Jan] #1: Gallery
  • Guard of honor - W Somorjit : Gallery
  • 13 martyrs brought to JNIMS : Gallery
  • Mangani Leihul of 13 martyrs #2 : Gallery
  • Oinam Chaoba Devi: Sepak Takraw : Gallery
  • Ayekpam Maipak (Sepak Takraw) : Gallery
  • Shanglakpam Nilakanta (Hockey) : Gallery
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD