Eighty percent of the pollution choking Delhi is generated within the city and governments in the Capital and states need to work round the year to clean up the air, Union minister of state for environment Anil Dave said on Monday.
Speaking to reporters after meeting the chief ministers of Haryana, Punjab and Delhi, Dave advised against any blame game and said state governments had to work on a war footing to tackle the mounting pollution.
“We can’t be seasonal in our approach. We have to work against pollution 365 days,” he said.
“Blame game won’t save Delhi.”
Dave’s comments come after a breathless week for Delhi’s 18 million residents as a thick cloud of smog hangs over the city and causes a spike in respiratory diseases. Levels of the most toxic Particulate Matter 2.5 have been recorded between 12 and 15 times the safe limit since Diwali last week.
On Sunday, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced emergency measures to clean up the city’s air, including the temporary closure of schools and banning of construction work. But, he blamed crop burning in neighbouring states for “fanning” the pollution.
Dave said the Centre will create an “environment protection calendar” with monthly targets for state governments to achieve.
“Measures such as dusting, sweeping and sprinkling of roads have to be done by the states, otherwise the Centre can step in.”
He admitted the burning of crackers on Diwali was a factor in increasing pollution but appeared to favour increasing public awareness to an outright ban on fireworks.
He said the situation had slowly started to improve, courtesy a wind blowing across the Capital.