Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Here Comes The Cloud

Masry el Youm today reported that the farmers have started burning the rice straw in the fields in the Delta. This happens every year and every year I get angry about it. The smoke comes from the north nearer the sea, but is blown south to the Cairo/Giza area by the prevailing winds which blow southwards up the Nile. So in addition to the horrible mess that the cities produce in the air made up of industrial pollution, diesel exhaust, gasoline exhaust and so on, we have smoke. Throats become sore, eyes tear and swell, noses run and get stuffy. The ordinary day to day pollution of the valley is so bad already because of the inversion layer (heat and pollutants rising from the valley is trapped beneath a layer of cooler air from the sea and desert) that we truly don't need this.

The real annoyance to me, however, is the fact that rice straw is a perfectly good animal feed. There has been almost no education done among farmers who know it as bedding or compost only. Here we have a total waste of animal feed in a country where animals are still so much a part of our lives. Part of the problem is the lack of baling machines in the Delta where they grow the rice. Last year we did some checking around about the rice straw situation figuring that maybe we could get it cheaper from the farmers...which we could if they had baling machines.

Egypt could solve one of its annual problems with something so simple.

copyright 2010 Maryanne Stroud Gabbani