CAIRO: In an effort to reduce the pollution caused by black clouds, the Ministry of Environmental Affairs plans to educate farmers and create incentives to prevent rice husk burning.
According to reports by Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper, Minister of Environmental Affairs Maged George announced that the Ministry spent almost LE 1 billion trying to reduce rice husk burning this year.
The money was invested in compressors that reduce the mass of the rice husk so it can be easily transported and used by factories.
The director of the Ministry’s press office, who wished to remain anonymous, told Daily News Egypt that the ministry has in fact produced these compressors at an affordable price in order to benefit a large number of people.
As a sort of incentive, he said, “young people who have limited financial capabilities can purchase the compressor for LE 7,500 and one ton of rice husk for LE 120. Then they can compress the rice husk and sell it to factories, which provides them with business opportunities.
These factories transform the compressed rice husk into materials that can [be used in] manufacturing paper, wood, gas and compost [a type of fertilizer], continued the manager.
In the article published by Al-Masry Al-Youm, the minister reportedly said that it was difficult to control the situation since farmers plant more rice than they are allowed. In El-Sharkia, for example, there was an excess of 156,000 acres to the permissible 176,000.
It was reported that almost one million acres of rice were planted illegally this year.
The article reported that along with El-Sharkia Governor Yehia Abd El Maguid and the Armed Forces, the minister started a project in El Tal El Kebeer which will establish centers to educate farmers on alternative solutions to burning the rice husk, such as using compressors.
The Ministry said that it will award LE 50,000 to the center that compresses the most rice.