‘War room’ to keep an eye on air quality launched in Delhi
Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai on Thursday inaugurated a centralised “war room” at the state secretariat to monitor to air pollution levels and coordinate efforts by different agencies to control a spike in bad air, a chronic problem that plagues the Capital and its surrounding areas every winter.Updated: Oct 09, 2020, 03:33 IST
Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai on Thursday inaugurated a centralised “war room” at the state secretariat to monitor to air pollution levels and coordinate efforts by different agencies to control a spike in bad air, a chronic problem that plagues the Capital and its surrounding areas every winter.
A 10-member team of experts under senior scientists Dr Mohan George and Dr B L Chawla will lead the efforts to monitor real-time data of pollutants, the condition of pollution hot spots, stubble burning images and efficacy measures aimed at checking bad air, the government said.
The war room is one of the seven measures of the Delhi government’s action plan to fight air pollution, announced by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal earlier this week.
Other measures include steps to control dust pollution, a mobile application to register complaints and hot spot-based pollution-control strategies.
Rai said the control room will work towards ensuring stricter enforcement of guidelines to check dust pollution at construction and demolition sites, ready-mix concrete plants, and garbage burning. The team will keep an eye on the mechanised sweeping of roads and sprinkling of water to prevent dust pollution.
“This fight will not be possible without the support of every agency and, therefore, we have set up and launched a centralised war room today in the Delhi secretariat. The war room is fully equipped with technology to monitor real-time pollution data,” Rai said on Thursday.
“Three large LCD screens are present across the room. Real-time pollution data, which includes air quality and data of PM 2.5 and PM 10, sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide, ozone, and wind speed will be displayed will be shared in one of the screens. Through another screen, we will monitor the situation in the 13 hot spots. Through a third screen, we will monitor NASA and ISRO pictures of stubble burning in neighbouring states,” Rai said.
“We will monitor complaints filed by people through the Green Delhi app which the CM will launch in the coming days. We will monitor complaints and implement strict action. On the other hand, we will monitor road sweeping and water sprinkling work done by the municipal corporations through GPS,” he said.
The minister said daily reports on the number of complaints received and grievances redressed will be sent to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
High levels of air pollution in Delhi is a year-round problem but gets aggravated in winters due to unfavourable meteorological conditions, farm fires in neighbouring regions and local emission sources.
The 13 pollution hot pots in Delhi are Okhla Phase-II, Dwarka, Ashok Vihar, Bawana, Narela, Mundka, Punjabi Bagh, Wazirpur, Rohini, Vivek Vihar, Anand Vihar, R K Puram and Jahangirpuri.
Smoke emanating from the burning of stubble by farmers in Delhi’s neighbouring states, but mostly in Punjab and Haryana, contribute to Delhi’s air pollution -- almost 44% according to the Delhi government -- every winter.
To tackle stubble burning, the Delhi government has tied up with IARI Pusa scientists to spray a “bio-decomposer” solution in paddy fields in the national capital, starting October 11.
The solution, experts say, can turn the stubble into manure in 15 to 20 days and can prevent stubble burning. The AAP government says other states can follow Delhi and use the solution to tackle the problem of stubble burning.
The national capital’s air quality was recorded in the “poor” category on Thursday and is likely to deteriorate further due to unfavourable meteorological conditions and spike in farm fires, the met office said.