Impact of Practice of Stubble Burning in Environment. A Socio Legal Study

Essay, 2018

9 Pages



Crop residue burning is a technique used by the farmers for the preparation of land for next cultivation. Through this technique the remaining of crops like straw which remains in the field as residue after harvesting is burned. It’s an air pollution issue and concern for every one as this kind of practice by the farmers emits lots of handful gases in the air. Crop residue burning practice is common in almost every states of India. One can find such practice in Chhattisgarh too. Stubble burning is considered to be the cheapest methods for cleaning the field after harvesting. Though it’s a cheap practice but its impact is hazardous in nature and the most important concern for all is to stop such practice and to prevent air pollution. The smoke which is released from crop residue burning is a mixture of particles and chemicals produced by incomplete burning of carbon-containing materials and this is one of the reasons for many air born diseases like Asthma. All smoke contains carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter or soot which is very harmful. Even Section 19(5) of The Air (Prevention And Control Of Pollution) Act, 1981 states that “If the State Government after consultation with the State Board, is of opinion that the burning of any material (not being fuel) in any air pollution control area or part thereof may cause or is likely to cause air pollution, it may, by notification in the Official Gazette, prohibit the burning of such material in such area or part thereof”.

Now the question which comes here is that from various surveys and from images issued by NASA it’s cleared that in many states of India, Crop residue burning is practiced by the farmers which shows that either the Government is Silent or is unable to stop such practiced. Through this paper researcher will discussed about the impact and solution of stubble burning.

Keywords: Smoke, Stubble Burning, Air Pollutant, Hazardous, NASA


India is the second highest producer of rice in the world after China[1]. Generally there are three seasons for growing rice in India i.e. autumn Rice, Winter Rice, and summer rice. Winter Rice is the main season for cultivation of rice. June to July is the sowing time for rice and harvesting time of it is November to December. The moment rice is harvest; the farmers have to prepare the land for next cultivation. After each harvesting,agriculture residues are produced. Million tons of agriculture residues are produced every year of which maximum percentage crop residues are produced by cereal crop like Rice, wheat etc.

Now to get rid of this residue and to prepare the land for next cultivation farmers used to burn this crop residue which is known as crop residues burning or stubble burning. So, stubble burning is a process or better I can say that it’s a practice where leftover of the harvesting filed is burned to prepare the land for next cultivation.


Crop stubble burning is one of the contributors for causing air pollution which emits GREEN HOUSE gas in air. Every year farmers in Punjab burn about 7 to 8 million metric tons of crop residues after the winter rice. Even in other parts of India also one can find such practice too. Thresher machine are used to thresh the paddy field after cultivation after which husk is left behind. After that, the entire paddy grain will be surrounded with husk. At the time of crushing of paddy more than maximum percent of the total production is received as rice, broken rice and bran and the rest percentage which is near about 20- 30 % is husk. Farmers who used thrashers machine over hand reaping leaves husk in the field. So removing husk from the field is gain a tough task for the farmers because government didn’t provide husk collecting machines to farmers in subsidies rates. So the best way for the farmers is to collect husk and set it to fire for preparing the land for next cultivation. But they don’t know the harmful effects of burning husk on ground. Open burning of husk produces harmful smoke that causes air pollution. Open burning of husk is a kind of incomplete combustion in nature. Hence large amount of toxic pollutants are emitted in the atmosphere. According to the Section 2(a) of Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981[2] Air pollutant means “any solid, liquid or gaseous substance (including noise) present in the atmosphere in such concentration as may be or tend to be injurious to human beings or other living creatures or plants or property or environment”[3]. Burning of Husk creates harmful pollutants which contain harmful gases like CH 4, CO, Volatile organic compound (VOC) and carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The term “air pollution”[4] means “the presence in the atmosphere of any pollutant”[5]. Thus Air pollutant includes smoke, soot, heat, fly ash, suspended particulate matter, noise, radioactive substances, vibrations etc.

It is well known fact that Clouds of ash and smoke can easily travel for more than thousand kilometers and it can create an obstinate clouds. Also from the smoke, smog is formed which can increase the levels of pollutants in the air, which in turn cause breathing problem and other health issue like irritation in eyes etc. Once the pollutant is released in the atmosphere, it changes the chemical composition of the air quality affecting the human health and recurrent burning of husk may cause to the formation of the brown clouds which affects the local air quality, atmospheric visibility and global warming too.

Most of the farmers believed that stubble burning is a quick, easy and cheap method as by these methods all the unwanted husk will gets destroyed along with other unwanted grasses. Also many farmers believed that fire actually return the nutrients of the land which is a misconception or rather I can say lack of knowledge due to awareness and illiteracy. In practical, Burning of husk on ground actually destroys the nutrients value of the soil due to which soil become less fertile because the heat generated from the stubble burning penetrates into the soil, causing loss of the moisture, a useful microbe which in results affects the quality of the soil. Apart from this natural nutrients and bacteria which help in the rejuvenating of the soil were also destroyed. Not only this stubble burning also the reason for the loss of precious nutrients. Burning of 1 Ton of stubble or paddy straw may cause the losses of 5.5 kg nitrogen, 2.3 kg phosphorus, 25 kg Potassium and 1.2 kg Sulphur, in addition to organic carbon.


[1] Top 10 Rice Producing Countries in the World, Retrieved June19, 2018

[2] Shastri.S.C. (2015). Environmental Law (5thedn.), 310, Lucknow: EBC Publishing (P). Ltd.

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

Excerpt out of 9 pages


Impact of Practice of Stubble Burning in Environment. A Socio Legal Study
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
Environment, Impact, Stubble burning, Smoke, Air Pollutant, Hazardous, NASA
Quote paper
Pyali Chatterjee (Author), 2018, Impact of Practice of Stubble Burning in Environment. A Socio Legal Study, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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