Delhi pollution: Capital tops other states in action, says CAQM affidavit
Of the four states in the National Capital Region (NCR), Delhi conducted the most inspections and prosecutions to control pollution levels, according to an affidavit the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) submitted before the Supreme Court on Friday.
The affidavit showed that between November 26 and December 7, agencies in Delhi deployed 82 teams and inspected 3,404 industrial units to check pollution norm violations. In the same period, Haryana deployed 28 teams and inspected 1,003 units and Uttar Pradesh deployed 35 teams and inspected 1,775 units. Rajasthan meanwhile formed eight teams and conducted 257 inspections of units.
Among the NCR states, the affidavit showed, all 1,636 industries in Delhi that had pipeline facilities were operating on PNG, while Haryana had 626 out of 630 units running on clean fuels and UP had 1,057 out of 1,161 industries using PNG. In Rajasthan, only 58 out of 198 industrial units run on clean fuels.
“We have been taking the implementation of pollution control measures very seriously. Apart from conducting our own inspections and drives, we are also conducting daily reviews with other agencies in the city to ensure that there is no laxity in action. All the directions issued by the CAQM is also being implemented thoroughly,” said a senior official of Delhi’s environment department.
As pollution in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) reached hazardous levels in November, the Supreme Court directed the CAQM and state governments to act and reduce the levels of bad air.
After the apex court’s order, the CAQM on November 16 issued a detailed set of directions for Delhi and NCR states to cut pollution levels, including the closure of schools and educational institutions, banning construction activities, stopping the entry of trucks carrying non-essential items into Delhi and regulating industrial activities.
Despite the curbs, November this year ended up being the most polluted since 2015—when the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) started recording the air quality index (AQI). November this year recorded 11 severe days, breaking the previous record of 10 such days recorded in November, 2016.
S Narayanan, member secretary, Haryana Pollution Control Board said, “Our teams are doing a lot and are closing down industries and other units that are not complying with the pollution norms, but unlike Delhi, Haryana does not have concentrated pockets and PNG gas pipelines have not reached all areas. The infrastructure is yet to be set up in most parts. Satellite towns like Gurugram and Faridabad are faring well, but parts of Sonipat, Panipat, many industrial clusters do not have proper infrastructure.”
Officials from the UP and Rajasthan pollution control boards did not respond to requests for comment.
Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director (research and advocacy), Centre for Science and Environment said that Delhi and NCR have need to be treated as “a single unit” when pollution control measures are implemented.
“You cannot focus all your action in Delhi and hope to see results. By now we have all realised that Delhi’s pollution is not Delhi’s problem alone, it is the problem of the air shed that it shares with its neighbouring states. NCR states will also need to pick up action so that results can be seen,” Roychowdhury said.
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