Every year sometime close to Diwali all of Delhi goes up in arms about poor air quality. The blame game begins and one of the key sources of pollution is identified as burning crop residue in states surrounding Delhi. Various articles have already highlighted the major health hazards for both farmers and citizens from this practice.

The numbers on crop residue are fairly alarming—500 million tons of crop residue is generated every year in India and much of it ends up being burnt by farmers so they can prepare for their next crop cycle. It contributes to 60 per cent of the particulate matter emissions in Punjab, Delhi and NCR region. The burning residue destroys precious soil micro-organisms and vital elements such as nitrogen, Phosphorus, sulphur and potassium, which depletes the soil quality. Rural households in Punjab are spending a shocking amount of Rs.7.6 crores each year to fight diseases linked directly to poor quality of air.


Vertiver carried out extensive research on the issue of crop residue burning collecting data, case studies and solution that have been proposed by government and private sector. Our team of filmmakers, writers and designers conceptualized a narrative and translated it into an animation film showcasing all research from problems to solutions into a single 9 minute film.

The film features the following aspects of Crop Residue Burning:

  1. Effects of Crop Residue burning (CRB) on farmers health
  2. Key data points
  3. Current policies and schemes for farmers/farming
  4. Alternative uses of Crop Residue and their advantages for farmers
  5. Technologies and machinery available to farmers

Vertiver team developed a visual theme and illustrated a set of regional characters creating a final of more 100 original illustrations for the animation. As a communications and knowledge consultancy, we have chosen to tell creative stories of all aspects of sustainability. Bringing in our technical expertise in sustainability with our artistic and design skills we believe in creating stories that communicate succinct and easy to understand messages that inspire stakeholders towards action.

We are now working on designing a toolkit for farmers to sensitize crop residue burning.