Delhi‘s air quality has been deteriorating since October. And has reached the ‘very poor’ level for the first time, this season, according to a report in the National Herald. One of the biggest contributors to pollution levels is stubble burning, a post-harvest custom in Punjab and Haryana villages. A team from IIT- Delhi has invented a machine for agro waste management.
ENDING A CUSTOM: Agro Waste Management
IIT-Delhi alumnus, Ankur Kumar, told The Better India, the main cause for burning crop stubble, especially paddy straw, is because it does not have a market. It has no use unlike other agro-residue like wheat straw. Devoid of a sustainable solution, farmers choose to burn the stubble. The IIT-Delhi team developed a unit converting agro-residue into raw material. This can be used by urban industry engaged in making eco-friendly products like pulp-paper and biodegradable tableware.
The IIT Delhi alumni have founded Kriya Lab, where they develop sustainable solutions from waste materials. Ankur revealed the team’s current focus is to make pulp for biodegradable tableware due to the growing demand for compostable tableware, in lieu of the plastic ban in several cities. The demand will benefit farmers as it fetches a premium price for their agro-waste. CTO of Kriya labs and team member, Kanika Prajapat, explains, “I believe the innovation lies in the overall concept of using agro residue to make different products. The business model is designed in such a way that the environment is kept at the highest priority, whether it’s reducing straw burning, utilising agro residue, making pulp technology green or reducing non-biodegradable plastic tableware.”
FROM PROJECT TO BUSINESS MODEL
The concept started as a summer project for the team as long back as 2014. They hope to get private or government funding to turn this pilot project into a commercial unit. If they manage to make their project viable, their machine will go a long way in reducing air pollution in the capital and thus, save many lives.