Straw burning season and the many issues Hanoi faced
The municipal authority has made various efforts to address the issue of burning rice straw, but unfortunately, this practice continues to pollute the area.
To address this concern, the Hanoi People's Committee released Directive No.15/CT-UBND on September 18, 2020. The directive aims to mitigate the negative effects of straw burning on the environment of the city. The Department of Natural Resources and Environment has been assigned to take the lead and collaborate with other relevant agencies in putting an end to straw burning after harvests in 19 suburban districts.
Up until now, despite the committee's diligent efforts to implement various plans and solutions, only in Sơn Tây Township have farmers successfully refrained from burning straw after harvesting. However, in the other 18 districts, this practice continues to be widespread. In fact, thousands of hectares were still affected by straw burning during the winter-spring and summer-autumn crops of 2022.
Farmers continue to adhere to the traditional practice of leaving rice straw in the fields after harvesting and burning it to enhance soil fertility. Consequently, the suburbs are consistently engulfed in smoke after each harvest. The smoke and fire, carried by the wind, disperse throughout the area, greatly impacting the air quality during hot weather conditions. Additionally, the smoke and dust emitted from the burning straw impede traffic, pose health risks, and instill a sense of insecurity as the fires spread across multiple fields. This ongoing practice of burning straw is a major source of damage for the local community.
Residents in Đan Phượng District are facing difficulties in their daily lives due to pollution caused by smoke and dust. Local residents remain hopeful that the authorities will take necessary measures to resolve this issue and restore normalcy to their living conditions.
As reported by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, the amount of fine dust emissions resulting from the burning of straw alone in 2022 was recorded at 728 tonnes.
The combustion of straw not only contributes to environmental issues in urban areas and the negative effects of greenhouse gases, but it also poses visibility challenges for both drivers and pedestrians in traffic.
Located in the Sóc Sơn District, home to the Nội Bài International Airport, the practice of straw burning during the summer-autumn and winter-spring crop seasons has become a concerning issue. This practice has been found to hinder the visibility of pilots during takeoff and landing, creating multiple risks for flight safety.
Alternative solutions for straw usage?
To address the issue of straw burning, many experts propose implementing regulations for handling violations and increasing inspections in order to prevent this practice.
Furthermore, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment should advise the city People's Committee to establish mechanisms and policies that promote and support production and business models that utilize straw as a valuable material.
It is worth noting that in certain areas, farmers already employ rice straw for various purposes such as cultivating mushrooms, selling them to cattle breeding farms, or even exporting them. However, these applications of straw are not yet widely adopted.
Authorities have long discouraged straw burning due to its detrimental impact on the environment and the wastage of valuable resources. Proper utilization of straw can actually generate significant economic value.
In Đông Anh District, a campaign to stop the burning of straw has been initiated by the women's union. As part of this effort, the union has conducted a total of 22 training courses for its members. These courses aim to equip them with the necessary techniques for utilizing straw in the cultivation of mushrooms.
The replication of this model is possible in all suburban districts.
To address this, authorities should focus on implementing various solutions, such as offering training and knowledge to farmers. This will help them recognize the economic value of rice straw as a source of raw materials.