Pollution has become a part of our daily life creating enormous human costs. Particulate matter in the air we breathe, organic pollutants and heavy metals in our food supply and drinking water — all of these pollutants affects the quality of human life. India is home to 14 of the world’s cities with the highest air pollution, making it an issue of national concern.
India is the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter where agriculture is responsible for 18% of total national emissions.
Understanding the different types of pollution and how they affect our health and the environment will help us take steps towards improving the air around us.
For decades, CIMMYT has engaged in the development and promotion of technologies to reduce our environmental footprint and conserve natural resources to help improve farmer’s productivity.
Zero tillage (ZT) offers significant opportunities in cropping system optimization for greater system productivity. "Advantages of ZT include improved soil and water conservation, increased use of land through intensification of cropping systems, reduced labor and energy requirements, reduced equipment inventories, reduced wear and tear on tractors and equipment, and greater environmental benefits. ZT use leads to reduction in air pollution by minimizing crop residue burning," says R.K. Malik, a senior scientist who advocates for early sowing of wheat and zero tillage in the eastern Indo Gangetic Plains.
Fine particles of dust from the soil can travel thousands of miles. They may also carry pathogens and harmful substances, which cause acute and chronic respiratory problems. By adopting zero tillage farming, the dust pollution from soil can be greatly reduced.
Rab is a traditional practice in which a rice nursery is established by burning naturally available biomass such as branches and dry leaves of trees, cow dung, dry grass and crop residues. This practice is mostly confined to North Konkan (coastal districts of Maharashtra), the Maval tract of Pune district and southern Gujarat. It is estimated that around 100,000 ha of rice is planted using Rab.