Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday launched three mobile applications aimed at checking crop residue burning and creating awareness about its effects on the environment and human health. The three Android mobile applications have been developed by Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC). These are i-Khet Machine for facilitating farmers to have access to the agriculture machinery or equipment for in-situ management of crop residue; e-PEHaL for monitoring tree plantation; and e-Prevent to have prompt and accurate information about incidents of crop residue burning, according to an official statement released in Chandigarh.
The applications would provide the information at district, block and village levels, in English and Punjabi, the statement said. Stubble burning has been a major concern in north India during the harvesting season. It has led to severe air pollution in the National Capital Region and neighbouring areas in the past a few years, prompting authorities to take measures to tackle the problem. At the launch, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh called for strict monitoring and making farmers aware about the hazards of stubble burning. He said stubble burning causes irreversible damage to the texture of the soil, natural environment and human health, and directed the agriculture department to work with the science, technology and environment department to intensify the campaign to educate farmers about stubble burning.
Additional Chief Secretary (Development) Viswajeet Khanna said 20 million tonnes of paddy straw was being produced in the state and only 5 million tonnes was being managed. Nearly 15 million tonnes of paddy straw was being burnt for easy clearance of field, he said. He said burning of 1 tonne of paddy straw leads to net loss of 5.5 kg of nitrogen, 2.3 kg of phosphorus, 25 kg of potassium, 1.2 kg sulphur, 400 kg organic matter, besides the death of useful microbes. It also degrades the air quality, thus, posing a major environmental hazard. Presently, about 4.30 million tonnes of paddy (21.82 per cent of total paddy straw generation) was being utilised by stakeholders without burning them in fields, said Mr. Khanna.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.