New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: With winters approaching, the issue of smog choking the national capital has risen once again. Every year the landscape of Delhi and other northern regions of the country like Harayana and Punjab turn apocalyptic due to the practice of stubble burning- which is also called 'parali' in Hindi.

The burning of stubble or parali has been identified as one of the major reasons behind the environmental hazards in these areas. That is why the National Green Tribunal has put a ban on the burning of stubble. However, farmers continue to do so to clear their fields for the next sowing season.

Here's everything you need to know about what is parali and why its burning is harmful and what are the alternatives:

What is stubble or parali?

Stubble or parali is the remaining part that is left over after harvesting the crop. When the paddy crops fully ripen, only the upper portion is harvested and the lower portion is left behind. This leftover part of the crop has no utility for the farmers. That is why farmers burn this dry stubble around October-November- which is the onset of winters- to clear the field for the next sowing season.

Why is stubble burning harmful?

The burning of stubble or parali releases gases like Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide which results in severe air pollution. It also has an adverse effect on human health. For example, the burning of stubble can cause health problems like skin and eye irritation, severe neurological cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis, lung capacity loss, emphysema, cancer, etc.

Apart from the health hazards, stubble burning also affects the soil quality of the fields. It destroys the important nutrients in the soil. Therefore, it is not beneficiary for the farmers as well.

What is National Green Tribunal's ruling on this?

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had put a ban on the burning of stubble as it causes damage to the environment. NGT in its 2018 ruling ordered to impose a fine of Rs 2,500 if the straw is burnt on 2 to 5 acres of land and a fine of Rs 5,000 if stubble is burnt on an area of more than 5 acres.

The Tribunal has also suggested giving incentives to those farmers who do not burn stubble. The court has suggested providing CRM (Crop Residue Management) machines to farmers so that the crop residue can be converted into organic fertilizer by setting up decentralized composting.

What are the alternatives?

According to Anumita Roychowdhury, head of Clean Air Programme at the Centre for Science and Environment, there are three main solutions to stubble burning: in-situ treatment of stubble, ex-situ treatment, and changing cropping pattern. The last one is the deeper and more fundamental solution. For in-situ management, the government is currently giving equipment to farmers to mix the stubble back into the soil.

Posted By: Sugandha Jha