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Straw burning: causes and countermeasures (No 174, 2014)


By Zhou Hongchun, Research Department of Social Development, Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC)

Research Report No 174, 2014 (Total 4673)


Straw burning has drawn widespread attention from the media and the public as it is likely to increase air pollution and aggravate smoggy weather in regional areas. Farmers prefer to burn straw because it is the easiest and most economic way to deal with straw quickly after harvesting crops. Straw is good for different uses, such as farmland fertilizer, fodder, base stock for mushrooms, fuels including gas making, pelletizing and production of fuel rod; and materials for handcraft products, artificial board and power plants. Unfortunately, such uses are far beyond what farmers are capable of. So, China needs to put the development idea of circular economy throughout all steps of straw comprehensive use and give agriculture and animal husbandry top priority in straw use. In addition, the country needs to improve its industrial chain, adjust the subsidies, and enhance law enforcement in order to guide farmers to make use of straw rather than to burn them. By doing so, the country can prevent straw burning in the fields.