Clutching at straws

IKEA and a few other companies are taking an interest in crop residue. Disposable plates, anyone?


What if all you had to do to cut down Delhi’s pollution was to buy disposable plates? Swedish giant IKEA hopes to do just that. It has plans to develop products from crop residue on farms to help cut down the need for crop burning in North India. One of those products could be rice-straw plates. The company, which launched in India a few months ago, is the latest to come up with a solution to one of Delhi’s biggest challenges — its annual smog.

Every year, Delhiites brace themselves for the post-Diwali season, when residents are plagued with throat infections and eye irritation. Air pollution is linked to 2.5 million deaths in India every year, The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, a long-term project that involved more than 40 international health and environmental authors, reported last year.

IKEA thinks its pilot project could be a part of the solution. Helene Davidsson, sustainability manager South Asia, IKEA Purchasing says, “Our starting point was that we want to be a part of a solution to address air pollution. We want to have a positive impact on the communities we’re working with.” It is estimated that there are over 20-35 million tonnes of crop residue being burned in northern India alone.

Around 26 per cent of Delhi’s pollution is caused by stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, an IIT-Kanpur study found in January 2016. Stubble burning is the process by which paddy residue is set on fire after it has been harvested so that farmers can start sowing wheat. State governments have tried to curb the fires by imposing bans and fines. They also subsidise equipment to allow farmers to till their fields without needing to set them on fire....Read more


Source web page: Business Line

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