Pusa Decomposer

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    In Context 

    • Farmers are ready to use the Pusa decomposer officially after the achievements of last year’s field trials.
      • It was sprayed on around 2,000 acres of land in Delhi.

    PUSA Decomposers

    • About:
      • The decomposers are in the form of capsules made by extracting fungi strains that help the paddy straw to decompose at a much faster rate than usual. 
        • The fungi help to produce the essential enzymes for the degradation process.
    • Process:
      • It involves making a liquid formulation using decomposer capsules and fermenting it over 8-10 days and then spraying the mixture on fields with crop stubble to ensure speedy bio-decomposition of the stubble.
      • The farmers can prepare 25 litres of liquid mixture with 4 capsules, jaggery and chickpea flour. The mixture is sufficient to cover 1 hectare of land.
    • Time to Decompose:
      • It takes around 20 days for the degradation process to be completed.
      • It does not give enough time for farmers to prepare fields for the wheat crop on time.
    • Significance:
    • The decomposer improves the fertility and productivity of the soil as the stubble works as manure and compost for the crops and lesser fertiliser consumption is required in the future.
      • The soil loses its richness due to stubble burning and it also destroys the useful bacteria and fungi in the soil, apart from causing harm to the environment.
    • It is an efficient and effective, cheaper, doable and practical technique to stop stubble burning.
    • It is an eco-friendly and environmentally useful technology and will contribute to achieving the Swachh Bharat Mission.

    Stubble Burning

    • It is the practice of intentionally setting fire to the straw stubble that remains after grains, such as rice and wheat, have been harvested. 
    • The technique was widespread until the 1990s when governments increasingly restricted its use.
    • Stubble burning in northern India has long been a major cause of air pollution, but efforts to stop it fail every year.
    • Every year, when winter sets in, Delhi’s air pollution peaks with the air quality index (AQI) often plunging to the ‘severe’ and ‘hazardous’ categories. 
    • A recent study cited a direct link between 30 per cent of the total Covid deaths in the world and air pollution.

    Impact of Stubble Burning

    • Stubble burning in northern India has long been a major cause of air pollution.
    • It’s more dangerous with Covid-19 ravaging the country as pollution makes people more vulnerable to infection and slows their recovery.
    • Burning husk on the ground destroys the nutrients in the soil, making it less fertile.
    • The heat generated by stubble burning penetrates into the soil, leading to the loss of moisture and useful microbes.

    Alternatives to Stubble Burning

    • Turbo Happy Seeder (THS) machine: One such method is using a Turbo Happy Seeder (THS) machine, which can uproot the stubble and also sow seeds in the area cleared. The stubble can then be used as mulch for the field.
    • In-situ treatment of stubble: The government is currently giving equipment to farmers to mix the stubble back into the soil so that they do not have to burn it.
    • Ex-situ treatment: Under this, some companies have started collecting stubble for their use, but we need more action on this front.
    • Changing cropping pattern: It is the deeper and more fundamental solution.
    • Subsidise crops other than paddy, the source of most stubble burning. Policy and money should incentivise farmers in the region to plant more fruits and vegetables. India needs more vitamins and protein rather than wheat and rice.” This will create more greenery and since vegetable and fruit crops don’t leave stubble, it’ll bring down the number of open fires.

     

    Source: IE