Global_Environmental_Research_Vol.27No.1
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1. Introduction: Serious Air Pollution in India 3 India is considered to have one of the highest numbers of deaths from air pollution. According to the World Health Organization (2023), India had about 883 thousand fatalities attributable to air pollution, second only to China in terms of numbers. There are many industrial sources of air pollution: the energy, industry, transport, waste and other sectors (Guttikunda et al., 2023). In many countries where agriculture is a major industry, agricultural waste burning can be a significant source of air pollution. In the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) of India, a double cropping system has taken root, with “Kharif” crops (mostly rice) during the monsoon season and “Rabi” crops (mostly wheat) during the winter. The burning of crop residues from these crops often causes severe air pollution in the surrounding areas. Global Environmental Research 27/2023 3-11 printed in Japan Research Institute for Humanity and Nature 457-4 Motoyama, Kamigamo, Kita-ku, Kyoto, 603-8047, Japan E-mail: sachikoh@chikyu.ac.jp Key words: Aakash Project, agriculture system, air pollution, Green Revolution, India, stubble burning The Delhi metropolitan area experiences severe air pollution every year in late October or early November. Corresponding to this period, post-harvest rice stubble burning is widely practiced in the surrounding states of Punjab (India) and Haryana, and in some parts of Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. The Research Institute for Humanity and Nature’s (RIHN’s) Aakash Project, a cooperative project between Japan and India, has been tackling the issue of air pollution from large-scale rice stubble burning in the Indian Punjab region. The project was launched as an RIHN full research project in April 2020 and will continue until March 2025. This project scientifically examines the connection between stubble burning in the Punjab and severe air pollution in Delhi. Based on this scientific understanding, we will pursue a pathway of social transformation toward clean air, public health and sustainable agriculture. We are approaching stakeholders/involved parties to raise awareness regarding farmer/community behavior that is relevant to stubble burning and air pollution. So far, under the project, we have successfully conducted campaign-based measurements using about 30 small air-pollution measurement devices in the field in 2022 and clarified the linkage between stubble burning in the Punjab and severe air pollution in Delhi. To clarify the goals of our activities, this paper focuses on the underlying issues at stake, describes the current research and findings, and discusses possible mitigation measures. At the end of the project, we aim to make recommendations for creating a sustainable agricultural system that reduces rice-stubble burning. Sachiko HAYASHIDA Abstract Since the 2010s, serious air pollution episodes have repeatedly occurred in the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Delhi-NCT) in October and November. Schools have often been closed and many events have been cancelled due to serious air pollution, and the impact on the lives of citizens has become increasingly severe. Post-harvest rice-stubble burning is widely practiced in the surrounding states of Punjab (India) and Haryana, and in some parts of Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh from the end of November, corresponding to the period of serious air pollution in Delhi-NCT (Sidhu et al., 1998; Samra et al., 2003; Gupta et al., 2004; Vadrevu et al., 2011; Irwin, 2014). Here, stubble refers to the short stalks and straws left on the field after the harvest of wheat or rice. The term “stubble burning” is used in this paper to indicate the burning of stubble left on the ground together with scattered pieces late September to ©2023 AIRIES Tackling Air Pollution from Agricultural Residue Burning: The Aakash Project: Challenge for Reduction of Rice-Stubble Burning in the Indian Punjab Region

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