Every year during June-October, it rains and a few months later after the rainy season there is a lot of grass growing in the empty sites in my residential colony. So all the grass is cut, piled up and burnt.

What can I do to stop this burning?

A lot of people are worried about snakes lurking around in the grass and therefore want all the grass to be cleared. No one is willing to listen to me when I tell them to let the grass stay there and decompose in a few months; "THEY WANT THE GROUND TO LOOK CLEAR".

Just bantering about climate change won't make any difference as many of the people are uneducated, and even the educated ones don't seem to realise the gravity of climate change. Even if I try stating examples (like the historic monsoon season which arrived every year in June since millenia, is now delayed by two months for the past 3 or so years, or winter days that have a minimum temperature of 20 degrees, etc.) it is of no use.

Are there any solutions to this problem that require less effort and money, so that less CO2 and ash is released into the atmosphere?

This happens every year and will continue to happen for 20 more years till there is a high density of houses.

  • 1
    What is a residential colony?
    – gerrit
    Jan 9, 2020 at 12:14
  • 3
    Perhaps you can convince them to create something like a large communal compost heap or organic waste processing facility that is maintained by volunteers. All organic waste goes on the heap and once or twice a year everyone who contributed can pick up the resulting fertile soil that it produces for free?
    – THelper
    Jan 9, 2020 at 14:04
  • Maybe the grass could be cut several times, before it grows that much? The cut grass then could be left lying around, decomposing. Though, if you worry about CO2, burning the grass or decomposing it doesn't make that much a difference. Furthermore, since the grass captured the CO2 in the first place, the whole affair is next to carbon neutral (except for the labour put into cutting it).
    – Erik
    Jan 9, 2020 at 14:56
  • Would local farmers want it for their animals? Perhaps you/your council could put the word out for farmers to pick it up?
    – Robotnik
    Jan 9, 2020 at 21:43

1 Answer 1


Burning grass is effectively carbon-neutral: the carbon dioxide released will get pulled right back out of the air next year as the grass re-grows. Cutting it and letting it decompose would also be carbon-neutral, just taking longer for the carbon dioxide to be released. If you want to stop the grass from being burned, you'll need another argument.

I recommend an incorrect mulching technique, cutting the grass frequently, as short as the mower can manage, and leaving the cut grass to lie where it's cut. This will discourage further grass growth, give snakes no place to hide, and the decomposing grass will reduce blowing dust during the dry season (a benefit that even the most uneducated person will understand).

(Normal lawn mulching involves cutting the grass high, to encourage further growth, but that's not what you want.)

  • 1
    i don't know if cutting and leaving ("chop and drop") is actually carbon neutral. The cuttings shade the earth and moderate temperatures as well as provide food for organisms in the soil. Growing grass grows roots, too, which die back when the leaves are cut. Root carbon often remains in the soil rather than returning to the atmosphere. I think "cutting it and letting it decompose" should be backed by some references. Jan 10, 2020 at 1:29
  • This is a little bit simplistic to say burning grass is carbon neutral. If the grass is not cut at the "right time", the exposed soil surface would likely have higher decomposition rate because of aeration and there would also likely be more erosion. Many more nuances that comes into play.
    – y chung
    Jan 13, 2020 at 17:12

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