Agricultural Waste Current Affairs - 2019

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Bio Bricks from Agri waste

The researchers from IIT Hyderabad and School of Architecture, Bhubaneswar have developed bio-bricks from agricultural waste. The product serves dual purposes of development of eco-friendly sustainable material and also waste management.

The Process

  • The Bagasse from agricultural waste is chopped to desired size.
  • A lime-based slurry is prepared.
  • The chopped agro-waste is added to the slurry and mixed thoroughly using a mixer to form a homogenous mixture.
  • The mixture is then poured into the molds.
  • The molds are then rammed with wooden blocks to create compact bricks.
  • The bricks attain strength after a month of air drying.

Significance

  • The bricks are made from agro-waste like wheat straw, paddy straw, sugarcane bagasse and cotton plant.
  • Bio-bricks are more sustainable than clay bricks.
  • They also act as carbon sinks as they fix more carbon dioxide than they produce during their lifecycle.
  • The bricks also provide good insulation to heat and sound
  • They help in maintaining humidity of buildings and make the house more suitable for hot-humid climates.

The bricks will help in building climate change resilient homes. In India as 84 to 141 million tons of agricultural wastes are burnt causing severe air pollution, these steps help in reducing these incidents.

Measures to tackle stubble burning

Stubble burning in states such as Haryana and Punjab is a major cause of air pollution in north India in October and November. The stubble burning is one of the main reasons for the higher level of pollutants in the air in the National Capital Region. The Central government has initiated following steps to reduce and eradicate the stubble burning in the neighbouring states of NCR:

  • In the budget of the 2018-19, the central government had announced a special scheme’ to encourage farmers in these states to shift to alternative ways of dealing with agricultural waste.
  • In pursuance of the announcement in the budget, the government announced a central sector scheme on ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi’.
  • The scheme provides for in-situ crop residue management machinery to the farmers on subsidy, the establishment of Custom Hiring Centres (CHCs) of in-situ crop residue management machinery and undertaking Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities for creating awareness among farmers to avoid stubble burning.
  • The Union Ministry of Power has brought out a policy for biomass utilization for power generation through co-firing in pulverized coal-fired boilers. The Ministry of Power has decided that the States of Haryana and Punjab shall issue bids for all coal based Thermal Power Plants to use a minimum of 5 per cent of biomass pellets and up to 10 per cent to be co-fired with coal.
  • The government is also taking steps to popularize zero tillage farming where the crop seed will be sown through drillers without prior land preparation and disturbing the soil where previous crop stubbles are present.

These measures have made a positive impact. The satellite data indicates that paddy residue burning events in 2018 have reduced by 29.5 per cent, 24.5 per cent and 11.0 per cent in the States of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, respectively when compared with the paddy residue burning events in the year 2017.