New Delhi: As air quality in the national capital continues to be “poor”, the Supreme Court has reprimanded the centre and civic agencies for lack of action in pollution-related complaints. The court said that the local agencies – the municipalities — have failed to address the grievances of the citizens and lax officials should be put behind bars. The centre informed the court that 749 pollution complaints were received through social media and over 3,000 through the “Sameer” app, a mobile application launched by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to enable people to register their complaints, between November 1 and 24.
Some complaints have been dealt with, but others are pending because they have to be addressed by local agencies, the centre said. “Prosecute the local agencies. Send them to jail. That is the only option left,” the top court said.
Will do, said the centre. On Monday, the air quality in Delhi-NCR deteriorated to “very poor”. In some parts of the city, the pollution levels plunged to “severe”.
The overall air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 320 — in the “very poor” category, according to the (CPCB). Anand Vihar recorded “severe” air quality. The AQI in 23 areas was registered in the “very poor” category, while the situation was “poor” in 12 areas. The level of PM2.5 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) was recorded at 179, and the PM10 level was recorded at 338.
An AQI is considered “good” if it’s under 50; “satisfactory” between 51 and 100; 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”. According to a forecast by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the AQI is likely to remain in “poor” for the next two days due to high level of PM2.5 in the air.
Among desperate measures being considered to handle the air crisis is the artificially induced rain to wash away and clear pollutants from the air. Union Minister Mahesh Sharma said that the centre will send out a notification to induce artificial rain or cloud seeding in the national capital if the pollution aggravates.
Cloud seeding is the process of combining different kinds of chemical agents, including silver iodide, dry ice and even common table salt, with existing clouds in an effort to thicken them and increase the chance of rainfall. The process also involves changing the amount and type of precipitation that falls from clouds by dispersing substances (mostly salts) into the air. The dispersion is done from aircraft.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.