Agricultural waste management

Preeti Sharma
As we are well concerned about that Agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy and about 70% of Indian people depends on agriculture. Brenda Schoepp (a farmer) said, “My grandfather used to say that once in your life, you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman and a preacher, but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer.” This quote directly explains us that we cannot live without agriculture as agriculture is the only sector which is meeting the food, fibre and fuel demands of the increasing population. This practice has protected the country from starvation due to its production in a commercial scale. But many problems appear in the management of the wastes which is produced after the production of output from the agricultural and allied activities as these residues are produced in a bulk. Due to the improper management of these wastes, many problems related to health and environment arise and many other organisms from micro up to the macro level get affected.
Many farmers burn crop remains like straw, stubbles etc. which has resulted in a lot of problems. This practice has directly creates in air pollution, soil degradation, global warming, greenhouse effect. Further, the cow dung, cow urine, vegetable waste and many other wastes are directly exposed in the open air and are kept along roadsides which result in the emission of foul smell thereby causing bad impact on the environment. Hence, the management of these wastes become necessary. These resources are very valuable and if properly managed in a scientific way help in boosting the income of the farmers and also, the environment related problems get also reduced.
Many useful products can be prepared from agricultural wastes in a proper manner :
* Instead of burning crop residues, if these are properly utilized for compost making, vermi composting etc. these can work in a better way to improve the economic returns. As the manures so produced are organic and bulky in nature, these maintain the quality of the soil by reducing its compaction, increase aeration, improve microbial population in the soil, and adds organic matter to the soil which directly or indirectly boost the economy by reducing the cost of chemicals fertilizers. Farm yard manure and vermicompost can be sold at suitable rates.
* In Integrated Farming System, which is a part of sustainable agriculture, many components are involved in the system in which the output of one component can be successfully used as an input for other component. Cow dung obtained from livestock can be used to prepare compost, biogas etc. The slurry produced during biogas production can be again used as a manure for crops. Cow urine can be used as a foliar spray to the crops for the control of insects, weeds and diseases due to its insecticidal properties which directly reduces the demand of chemical pesticides.
* The peels of fruits and other vegetable wastes can be successfully used for urban composting.
These practices are ecofriendly in nature and if done in a scientific and proper way, will definitely help in management of agricultural waste in an efficient manner. We should practice these methods in a sustainable way so that both the goals are achieved successfully viz. the additional income as well as the proper utilization of these wastes.
As everything in this earth has its own value, whether it is useful or wasteful, but it’s our problem that we mainly focus on useful things thereby neglecting the waste one. Hence, we can utilize these things in a scientific and sustainable manner and this will surely help us in achieving the success.


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