Engineer and COO of a digital platform for sustainable agricultural solutions Dhruv Sawhney has advised Indian farmers to test a new organic microbial spray created by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (ICAR) in Delhi to reduce air pollution caused by stubble burning. According to ICAR director Ashok Kumar Singh, the Pusa Decomposer contains seven different species of fungus that are naturally present in the soil. These fungal species were discovered to be particularly successful in decomposing the stubble for energy and nutrients after numerous lab tests. This microbial spray would eradicate the stubble that remained in the fields after paddy harvesting entirely and quickly. After three weeks, the old stubble would blend into the soil and act as compost for the following planting season.

According to the data published in the 2021 World Air Quality Report, India has 21 of the world’s 30 cities with the worst levels of air pollution. New Delhi has the country’s highest level of harmful air pollution and had, by far, the worst year-round average for PM2.5 pollution of any capital city in the world. Consequences of stubble burning include skin and eye irritation, severe neurological, cardiovascular, and respiratory disorders, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, lung capacity reduction, emphysema, cancer, and increased death rates. Outdoor air pollution kills approximately 4.2 million individuals each year around the world.