Ikea wants to help resolve the air pollution crisis in India

The world furniture giant will start producing agricultural waste products in India, which means that farmers no longer need to burn it.

The initiative, called "Better Air Now" will give Indian farmers a use for unwanted straw of rice, which is often burned. Fire from the fires is one of the major contributors to the pollution crisis in Northern India.

Ikea, which opened its first stores in India earlier this year, plans to buy the straw and turn it into a renewable source for Ikea's products. The ambition of the company is "to create a model for how to reduce air pollution that could be reproduced in other mega cities," a statement said on Thursday.

The Swedish company said its first rice-based prototype products will be ready by the end of 2018. He hopes to start selling them to India by 2020, before offering them to other markets.

The program will begin in the areas around India's New Delhi – one of the most polluted cities in the world – before expanding to other parts of the country and eventually to Ikea's global markets.

Ikea is working with the Indian state and local governments, NGOs and companies to help promote the initiative.

Burning crops is one of the largest sources of pollution in northern India.

Every year, farmers burn millions of tons of crop residues to clear fields for the next season, releasing huge amounts of harmful particulates into the environment.

33% of New Delhi's pollution that began earlier this month comes from burning crops in the surrounding states, according to an Indian report Air Quality and Forecasting and Weather Survey.

Pollution in India is believed to be responsible one million deaths a year.

Data from the World Health Organization published in May gave India the enviable distinction that it has nine of the 10 most polluted cities in the world.

New Delhi air is so polluted that residents could live up to nine years if the city meets WHO standards, according to estimates by the Institute of Energy Policy of the University of Chicago last year.

Ikea has taken other measures to increase sustainability in recent months, including a a global ban on disposable plastic in its stores earlier this year.