Ikea has come up with a plan to help some of the world’s most polluted cities breathe easier, and New Delhi is on the list. By Team T+L

The Swedish global furniture giant will start making products out of agricultural waste in India, meaning farmers no longer have to burn them. Now, this plan of action may really help because crop burning is one of the biggest sources of pollution in northern India.

Most farmers across northern Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, burn the straw post harvest as that is the easiest and most economical way to prepare the field for the next sowing season. The Indian government estimates that this practice accounts for a quarter of the air pollution in India’s capital every year.

 

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Ikea has named the initiative “Better Air Now,” where they will provide the Indian farmers with an option of selling unwanted rice straw. The company plans to buy the straw and turn it into a renewable source for Ikea products. It will supposedly help the company’s ambition to create a model on how to reduce air pollution that could be replicated in other mega cities.

The company opened its first store in Hyderabad barely a year ago, and this initiative could take sustainable living a notch higher in the country. Ikea says their first product prototypes based on rice straw will be ready by the end of 2018. And they hope to start selling them in India by 2020 before offering them in other markets.

The programme will kickstart in areas around New Delhi, before being extended to other parts of the country, and eventually to Ikea’s global markets; 33% of New Delhi’s overall pollution results from crop burning. Ikea is working with Indian state and local governments, suppliers, NGOs, small-scale farmers and companies to help take the initiative forward. This move has the potential to finally relieve Delhi from the thick blanket of smog that envelopes it every winter. We cannot wait!