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#SmogInDelhi: Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan Calls For Cost Effective Measures To Mitigate Air Pollution

In a bid to bring down the dust pollution, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said that the state government is free to indulge in sprinkling of water through helicopter

#SmogInDelhi Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan Calls For Cost Effective Measures To Mitigate Air Pollution
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New Delhi: Several parts of Delhi-NCR regions are engulfed in smog as the national capital witnesses a sharped decline in its air quality. As the city found itself in a public health emergency situation, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan asked the state government to adopt “cost effective” measures to improve the quality of air and also requested the state governments of the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to effectively execute the ban on stubble burning.

“I call for cost effective measures since management of air pollution requires sustained actions over a long period of time to be effective. I’d also like to request the State Governments of Punjab, Haryana and UP to implement the ban related to stubble burning,” he tweeted.

In the list of cost effective steps that would sustain over a long period of time, he said that the Delhi government is “free” to indulge in sprinkling of water through helicopter to control the dust pollution. Along with the aerial sprinkling the minister also asked the state authorities to examine simple measures like vacuum cleaning and mechanised sweeping of roads.

“Asked the Delhi Govt to examine cost effectiveness of the measure vis a vis other simpler measures such as mechanized/ vacuum sweeping of road etc. if Government of Delhi thinks that sprinkling of water through helicopter is the most cost effective measure, it’s free to do so.”

He further asked the state government also effectively implement the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). The GRAP was formulated in December last year after a similar emergency was declared.

Measures like prohibition on entry of trucks into Delhi; ban on construction activities, introduction of odd and even scheme for private vehicles, shutting of schools, closure of brick kilns, hot mix plants and stone crushers; shutting down of Badarpur power plant, ban on diesel generator sets, garbage burning in landfills and plying of visibly polluting vehicles etc were included in the action plan. And depending upon the levels of pollution, the steps are to be implemented.

Also Read: Remove Man-Made Causes To Improve The Quality Of Air In Delhi: Union Environment Minister Of State Mahesh Sharma

Dr Vardhan who is presently attending a climate change conference in Germany said that several meeting with state governments including Delhi have been held to review the measures adopted to deal with air pollution regularly.

Apart from the state government, Dr Vardhan also directed the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority to improve the visibility on ground by exploring various steps.

“EPCA should effectively implement identified steps in a practical manner so that the visible improvement is seen on ground. I’d like to assure people that the Central Government shall do everything possible to bring about improvement in air quality in Delhi and NCR,” he said in a tweet.

Commenting on the worsening air quality, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal called it ‘gas chamber’. Schools are shut for a day today.

For the second time this year, city’s air quality slipped into the ‘severe’ category on Tuesday morning, with a score of 448 on a scale of 500. The first time was during Diwali when the fireworks had had triggered high pollution October 20 where AQI was recorded at 403 as against the safety limit of 100 micrograms per cubic metre. From people wearing masks on their way to work, flights and train operations getting affected, to parents worrying about the degrading quality of air children haVE to breathe, city’s air pollution is the biggest concern for those living in Delhi-NCR.

Also Read: Air Pollution: National Green Tribunal Questions Delhi, Uttar Pradesh And Haryana Governments

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