Nearly 25 thousand tonne rice straw was recycled back into the soil in 2018 and 115 tonne fine particulate matter (PM2.5) was saved from being released into the air, according to the Impact Assessment Report for Crop Residue Management Project.
The report relates to CII’s Crop Residue Management project of 2017-18 under ‘Cleaner Air, Better Life’ for biomass management in North-Western states.
As per the report, the project led to avoidance of environmental impacts on local, regional and global scales and also led to nutrient savings worth more than INR 1 crore. It improved the farmer’s resilience to adverse impacts of climate change due to water conservation, improved farm biodiversity, and resilience of crops to extreme climatic events.
About 30 kilo tonne CO2e of GHG and 13 tonne BC which would have otherwise been released into the atmosphere are estimated to be fed back into the soil, a portion of which will be sequestered into the soil for hundreds of years. Also, the project led to avoidance of estimated, 140 tonne volatile organic compounds, 82 tonne ammonia, 39 tonne oxides of nitrogen and 6 tonne oxides of sulphur, which could have impacted the ambient air quality across Indo-Gangetic Plains.
Agricultural burning in the North-Western States (Punjab, Haryana and Delhi) costs the Indian economy a whopping USD 30 million every year due to health impact. It exacerbates climate change as emitted Black Carbon (BC) is considered the second most potent global warming agent after CO2. Burning also adversely impacts farm level biodiversity and leads to over consumption of irrigation water and diesel for farm operations.