Environment ministry forms 7-member panel to find solutions to air pollution in Delhi-NCR | india news | Hindustan Times
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Environment ministry forms 7-member panel to find solutions to air pollution in Delhi-NCR

The seven-member panel will monitor the implementation status of measures taken for tackling the problem and chart future course of action.

india Updated: Nov 09, 2017 23:07 IST
Malavika Vyawahare
Tourists wear masks to protect themselves from heavy smog and air pollution in New Delhi on Thursday.
Tourists wear masks to protect themselves from heavy smog and air pollution in New Delhi on Thursday. (PTI Photo )

Responding to public pressure, the Union environment ministry on Thursday formed a seven-member committee headed by environment secretary, to formulate short and long-term measures to solve the problem of air pollution in the Delhi-NCR region.

The committee will include the secretary, department of science & technology, secretary, department of biotechnology, the additional secretary of the Niti Aayog, chief secretary of Delhi, the chairman, Central Pollution Control Board and a representative of Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, a policy think-tank.

The committee is expected to meet at “regular” intervals.

Delhi’s air quality plunged this week with the air quality index (AQI), which measures the concentration of pollutants in the air, 465 on Thursday morning, indicating severe levels of pollution. Delhi’s air quality remains poor throughout winter because of a combination of natural and man-made causes.

“It is basically to see what the implementation status is and what to do in the future,” CK Mishra, secretary, environment ministry, said.

“As of now the committee will meet at least every 10 days and in the future at least once a month,” he said.

,Secretary department of science & technology Ashutosh Sharma said the role of the DST will be to find technological solutions for the air pollution problem.

Mishra also held a meeting with the CPCB and the Supreme Court-appointed- Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) on Thursday.

It decided to urge state governments to implement the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), that aims at curbing pollution in the Delhi-NCR region.

Air pollution in this region is heavily impacted by various activities in neighbouring states, including crop burning, the operation of industries and the inflow of traffic. CPCB, the apex pollution regulator, was asked to continuously monitor the situation.

“We already know what we have to do, it is only a question of implementation,” Mishra added.

Many different agencies like the environment ministry, the CPCB, the Supreme Court and the EPCA have issued directions for tackling the air pollution problem, but implementation has been lax.

The committee will ensure that the measures are implemented and the hotspots where pollution is a major problem are regularly surveyed to monitor the situation.