The Commission for Air Quality Management on Wednesday directed governments of Delhi and adjoining states to implement strict action plans, including use of bio-decomposer to combat stubble burning in farms during the winter season, PTI reported.

Farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh burn the residue of their paddy harvest since it is a cost-effective and time-saving measure to prepare the fields for sowing of the other crops like wheat. However, the practice results in increased levels of air pollution in vast areas of North India.

“The Commission has been informed that Pusa bio-decomposer is planned for application in six lakh acres in UP, one lakh acres in Haryana, 7,413 acres in Punjab and 4,000 Acres in Delhi, the commission,” the central commission said in a statement.

The bio-decomposer is essentially a solution containing seven fungal species and was created by scientists of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute at Delhi’s Pusa area.

Last year, the Director of Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Ashok Kumar Singh, had told that the Pusa decomposer breaks down the stubble – so that it doesn’t need to be burnt – while also enriching the soil in the long run. The decomposer was provided to farmers on a pilot basis in 2019.

The Commission for Air Quality Managenent on Wednesday also asked the states to look at schemes to reduce generation of paddy straw, The Indian Express reported.

The Commission of Air Quality Management has also issued directions to the governments in Delhi and adjoining states to control dust from roads and open areas through a Dust Control and Management Cell, PTI reported.

The commission has recommended use of mechanised means of sweeping of roads, scientific disposal of dust collected in designated sites or landfills and sprinkling of dust suppressants and water on roads and open areas.

The commission also asked the industries to shift to piped natural gas as “cleaner fuels are a priority”.