Everything about Stubble Burning

The problem of stubble burning by farmers is believed to have been the cause of the recent smog in Delhi NCR. Consider the following regarding Stubble Burning.

1.      It assists in structuring of soil

2.      It assists weed, insects and disease control

3.      It helps in increasing nutrients of the soil

4.      The carbon (C) component of soil in stubbles is lost by burning

Which of the given statements is/are correct?

a       1, 2 and 3
b       2 and 4
c       1 and 2
d       1, 2, 3 and 4

Solution (b)

Stubble burning is the deliberate setting fire of the straw stubble that remains after wheat and other grains have been harvested. The carbon (C) component in stubbles is lost by burning and that the process of burning stubbles even occasionally, seriously affects the organic carbon levels of the soil. Around 80 per cent of the C in standing stubble will return to the atmosphere as CO2. Losses of carbon as CO2 to the atmosphere through burning are often only slightly greater than through natural decomposition, but they are of course immediate.

Advantages of burning

·         Cheap

·         Quick and easy

·         Can assist weed, insect and disease control

·         Reduced nitrogen tie-up

Disadvantages of burning

·         Loss of nutrients

·         Loss of carbon

·         Impact on soil microbes and fauna

·         Reduction in soil structure (soil aggregate stability)

·         Increase in erosion (wind and water)

·         Can increase acidity over time