Stop lying on pollution in Delhi, Amarinder tells Kejriwal

Elias Hubbard
October 16, 2020

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday launched the "Red Light On, Gaadi Off" initiative, to tackle the problem of rising air pollution in the national capital.

"In Delhi, we have around 1 crore registered vehicles; even if 10 lakh vehicles practice this, the pollution situation will improve inside the capital".

As per the Central Pollution Control Board, out of the 36 pollution monitoring stations in Delhi, the air quality index at as many as 25 stations is in the "very poor" category, eight stations recorded the index in the "poor" category, one recorded it to be "moderate" category while two remained non-functional.

NASA's satellite imagery also showed a large cluster of farm fires near Amritsar, Patiala, Tarn Taran and Firozpur in Punjab, and Ambala and Rajpura in Haryana.

A senior scientist at the India Meteorological Department said the wind direction was northwesterly and the wind speed 15 kilometres per hour, which was favourable for the transport of smoke from farm fires. The levels of PM 2.5 finer particles which can even enter the bloodstream were 156 g/m3. This shortlived improvement was attributed to a decrease in pollutant concentration of PM 10 and PM 2.5.

While Centre believes local factors also play an equal part, the Delhi government says that the pollution levels goes up only during the winters season when farmers in neighbouring states burn their crop stubble.

Low temperatures and stagnant winds help in accumulation of pollutants near the ground, affecting air quality.

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The measures under GRAP, which was first implemented in Delhi-NCR in 2017, include increasing bus and metro services, hiking parking fees, and stopping the use of diesel generator sets when the air quality turns poor.

The Air Quality Index in New Delhi rose past 270, according to SAFAR, India's main environment monitoring agency, after agricultural fires in neighbouring states sent smoke billowing across the city.

Vehicular emissions along with perennially going construction work are some of the major reasons for air pollution in the city.

Earlier EPCA directed that large construction projects will have to provide undertakings that they will assure adherence to prescribed forms of dust management. We can not do much about other states but we are taking all possible measures to control local sources of pollution - anti-dust strategy, tree transplantation policy, electric vehicle policy and decomposition of crop stubble through new technology.

The government will also start the spraying of "Pusa bio-decomposer" solution in non-basmati rice fields in the national capital, on Tuesday.

In fact, it was Kejriwal who was in denial, said Captain Amarinder, reacting to the Delhi chief minister's remark about "being in denial not helping". The graded response action plan (GRAP) which is now in force will greatly benefit from it.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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