Task force reviews plan to curb pollution in Delhi-NCR
At a high-level task force meeting on Friday, Mishra also called for plans for air pollution hot spots. The meeting was attended by chief secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, secretaries of different departments including ministries of environment, agriculture, road, petroleum and the Central Pollution Control Board.Updated: Sep 20, 2020, 02:28 IST
PK Mishra, Principal secretary to the Prime Minister, has asked Delhi government to ensure that local sources of air pollution such as open burning of waste, road and construction and demolition dust and industrial emissions are managed carefully ahead of winter before air pollution peaks, according to a statement issued by environment ministry on Saturday.
At a high-level task force meeting on Friday, Mishra also called for plans for air pollution hot spots. The meeting was attended by chief secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, secretaries of different departments including ministries of environment, agriculture, road, petroleum and the Central Pollution Control Board. The task force was constituted to improve the air quality in National Capital Region of Delhi.
The Delhi government did not respond to HT’s queries regarding the meeting.
Mishra said emphasis should be laid on deployment of teams for control of open burning of waste, IT-enabled monitoring of mechanical road sweepers, improvement in utilisation of construction and demolition waste and site specific implementation of action plan for identified hot spots. It was decided that similar site-specific plans will be implemented in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
He said the measures should be implemented well before the onset of severe air conditions and focus should be on compliance of emission norms by industries.
Mishra noted that the incidence of stubble burning has reduced by more than 50% in last two years and the number of “good” air quality index days have gone up. It was observed that after recent inclusion of residue-based power and fuel plants under priority sector lending by Reserve Bank of India, both state and central governments should jointly work out action plans for rapid deployment of such units. Measures related to diversification of crop and strengthening of supply chains were also discussed.
Mishra stressed that teams should be deployed in Punjab, Haryana and UP to ensure that no stubble burning takes place. These states will need to provide appropriate incentives especially in the relevant districts.
“We have to enforce the rules but enforcement becomes a challenge if systems are not in place. We have to do capacity system audits to understand what kind of waste generation and management is happening. Small scale industrial units, unauthorised industrial units will have to be monitored for the kind of fuel they are burning. Learnings from the lockdown will also have to be systematically implemented. For example, work from home can give us clues to develop a systemic approach of reducing the need for travel,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, Centre for Science and Environment. Delhi recorded moderate AQI at 118 on Saturday.
Delhi has recorded “moderate” air quality days consecutively since September 9. The city had recorded four “good” and 27 “satisfactory” air days in August with air quality not falling to moderate levels even once.
But meteorological and air quality scientists said the season is changing gradually leading to meteorological conditions that are unfavourable for dispersal of pollutants.