US-based Brian Von Herzen and his team at Climate Foundation India believe that agricultural waste can be processed into not just something useful for farmers but also enrich the soil by putting back carbon into it.
Paddy straw and wheat residues are usually burned by farmers in Punjab and Haryana in the absence of affordable alternatives to dispose them of. Every year, in November and February , burning of agricultural res idue in these states causes severe air pollution in Delhi.
According to Climate Foundation India’s proposal for the Urban Labs Innovation Challenge, nearly 60 mega tonnes of rice straw is burnt openly annually . Haryana and Punjab comprise 48% of total emissions due to rice straw burning across India. “During the months rice straw is burned, PM 2.5 (fine, respirable pollution particles) levels commonly exceed 400 parts per million,” it said.