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Delhi firm wins Eco Oscars; develops tech to mitigate stubble burning-led pollution

New Delhi, Oct 18: If the high pollution level in the national capital is a cause of concern during the winter months because of stubble burning, a solution to mitigate the problem might just be around the corner.

A Delhi-based agri firm on Sunday won the Earthshot Prize in London for devising a technology that converts crop residues into bio-products such as fuel and fertilizers and reduces smoke emission by 98 per cent.

Takachar, led by entrepreneur Vidyut Mohan won the Great Britain Pound 1 million award at the event, being described as the Eco Oscars. This is the first edition of the award ceremony instituted by Prince William to decorate people for their efforts in saving the planet.

If the technology is put to wider use, it could cut carbon dioxide emissions by a billion tonnes a year and prove to be a potent instrument against climate change and pollution, news agency PTI said, reporting about the award function.

The high point of the portable technology is that it is cost-effective and can be fitted to a tractor to produce the bio-products which can be sold commercially.

“Globally, we generate USD 120 billion of agricultural waste every year. What farmers cannot sell, they often burn, with catastrophic consequences for human health and the environment.

“The burning of agricultural waste causes air pollution that in some areas has reduced life expectancy by a decade. This plays out every year in the fields surrounding New Delhi. Smoke from man-made infernos fills the air, with serious consequences for the health of locals”, the Earthshot Prize noted in its reference to the winning project.

The inaugural winners were selected from five different categories and were chosen from a shortlist of 15 by judges including broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, actress Cate Blanchett and singer Shakira.

Costa Rica emerged as the winner in the protect and restore nature category for a scheme paying local citizens to restore natural ecosystems that have led to a revival of the rainforest.