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Centre convenes meet on Delhi pollution

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 19, 2019 Published on November 19, 2019

CK Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Environment chairing a high-level meeting on air pollution, in New Delhi on Monday   -  -

Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has said that concentration of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 has reduced by 15 per cent in Delhi in 2018 as compared with 2016. “We are looking at annual averages and have observed that there is a decrease,” said Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) SPS Parihar, in a joint press conference convened by CPCB and MoEF in New Delhi on Monday.

The briefing was held after all stakeholders – MoEF, CPCB, Municipal Commissioners of Delhi, district magistrates of the NCR and chief secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh met to discuss the pollution crisis.

Parihar said that a fine of up to one crore rupees had been levied on mainly those who violated construction bans and on faulty disposal of municipal waste.

He said that while they are manually monitoring data on pollution violations by industries, that data has not yet been uploaded online. “Our officials do make physical visits for inspections after manually recording the data, but the law does not ask for online monitoring,” said Parihar.

Odd-even scheme impact

On odd-even vehicle rationing scheme impact and whether it reduces pollution, the Supreme court had sought an explanation from the Centre and the Delhi government on whether it is contributing to any reduction.

MoEF has identified thirteen vehicular congestion hot spots and crossing. It is now working towards reducing congestion in Delhi.

MoEF Secretary CK Mishra said, “Naturally when the vehicular congestion is lower, say due to odd-even scheme, it will lead lesser pollution in hotspots. It is logical.”

A CPCB official told BusinessLine, “In an affidavit to the Supreme Court, both the centre and the Delhi government have taken a joint stand that the odd-even scheme is reducing vehicular pollution by four per cent. Our reply is based on The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) study that we have quoted. Also we must understand that in Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad or Faridabad, this scheme is not functioning. There is therefore a limited impact.”

Mishra also said, “Come next year, all dusty parts of roads in Delhi, belonging to an individual or an organisation will be paved or greened.”

While Haryana has reduced stubble burning to some extent, Punjab has not, he pointed out. “In fact it is slightly more than last year, the officials of Punjab explained that this was due to short time received for harvesting this year (due to an extended monsoon),” Mishra said.

On poor uptake of Happy Seeder technology which is said to be an alternative to stubble burning, Mishra said there was reluctance among farmers to use it. “Officials from Department of Agriculture Research have not been able to convince farmers to use it, and they are dispatching teams of agriculture officials everyday to reach out to the farmers,” said Mishra.

Published on November 19, 2019
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