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Reducing air pollution by creative use of pelletization




ICIMOD Headquarters, Nepal

Date & Time

18 July 2024 to 19 July 2024

About the event

Seasonal open burning of crop residue in fields is a significant contributing factor to pollution in the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP), which includes Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Despite the advancements in agriculture mechanisation, this problem persists. Converting crop residue to pellets offers a promising solution, transforming what is often seen as waste into a valuable source of energy and other uses.

Action Area B: Action for clean air, under the Strategic Group (SG1): Reducing Climate and Environment Risks, is organising a two–day regional inception workshop to promote incentives for the use of pellets in industries by IGP governments. This workshop aims to accelerate adoption by bringing together partners from the IGP countries, including academia, government agencies, NGOs, international institutions and the private sector.

The event is supported by the United States Department of State (USDOS).


  • Understand the regional context, capabilities, constraints, and potential models for crop residue pelletization to set the foundations of the Regionally Fit Framework
  • Share experiences on pelletization


South Asia suffers from the worst air pollution globally, with far-reaching and hazardous consequences on environmental and human health. Seasonal open burning of crop residue in fields is a significant contributor to this issue. Managing post- harvest crop residue often falls to women farmers, who burn the stubble, as it is faster, reduces labour, and is cost effective. The lack of alternative disposal methods further exacerbates this practice.

Addressing seasonal crop residue burning requires a multi-sectoral approach to identify and alleviate the cause and adverse impact, as well as to establish mechanisms promoting alternate practices. Converting crop residue into pellets provides an alternative source for renewable energy. Additionally, it provides opportunity for small to medium-sized enterprises to create an income stream from a renewable fuel source and promote their use in local industries, replacing traditional coal.

Pelletization and encouraging the use of pellets as fuel in industries create a win-win scenario. Using the energy-dense pellets in coal consuming industries such as brick kiln, boilers, and furnaces will reduce Green House Gases (GHG) emissions compared to open burning of crop residue. Similarly, partially replacing coal will pellets in industries will further reduce emissions. This, in turn, will enable IGP countries to make significant contributions to achieving net zero emission. Pelletization addresses air pollution issues and acts as a benefit-sharing mechanism for farmers looking for alternative methods to dispose of post-harvest crop residue.