From Crop residue pyrolysis to Biochar and Afforestation
The Maharashtra model tackles the crucial issue of rising air pollution in India, while also creating high-quality carbon sinks. It also works towards maximising the additional benefits that come along with the use of biochar, focusing on water and nutrient retention to remediate these soils and increase crop yield.
Stubble – crop residue that is left post harvest, can be seen as both a nuisance and an opportunity. In India however, in most cases, it is the former. The drastic post-apocalyptic pictures of smog in Delhi are a direct result of stubble burning in North India. Indian cities reported Air Quality Index (AQIs) up to 20 times higher than the safe levels prescribed by the WHO. The cost of air pollution due to stubble burning is estimated to be $30 billion annually.
The state of Maharashtra itself burns about seven million tonnes of crop residue yearly – which is 80% of its total annual crop residue generated. Of this, sugarcane leaves, along with cotton, soy and wheat residue make up the bulk of the burnt stubble.