Conference Proceeding

Crop Residue Burning: Global Trends and Management Practices

Dr. Kirk R. Smith

Open field burning of crop residues is commonly practiced across the globe and has become an important issue due to its emission of toxic pollutants. Significant periods of air pollution are associated with crop residue burning seasons in India, Thailand, China and other countries with large areas of cropland. In some cases, air quality can be altered so substantially that severe health risks are created, as in the Delhi area in November 2016. This is causing much public and policy interest in finding alternative management practices. Here we review the geographic spread and trends of crop residue burning and emerging management practices across the world, with a focus on Asia. We also review the relative impacts of different crop types in terms of residues burned per ton of grain produced. Asia apparently burns about 190 million tonnes annually followed by America with about 88 million tonnes. China and India account for almost half of the emissions from the crop burning in Asia which is mainly contributed by burning of rice straw that contributes around 40 million tones. Western Europe has significantly reduced its emissions over the years by promoting alternative uses while the USA controls the timing of burning, thus reducing potential impact on human populations. In Asia, however, in spite of formulating policies and identifying key alternative options (like in-situ management, fodder, bio-energy, biofuel, raw materials, etc.) to prevent open crop residue burning, this practice is still prevalent at large scale in an uncontrolled manner. We suggest some alternative approaches that may be considered in India for addressing this problem.

Published: 08 November 2017


Copyright: © 2017 Dr. Kirk R. Smith. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.