Dean of Diplomatic Corps conveys envoys' concern about Delhi pollution to MEA officials
The Dean of Diplomatic Corps said he expressed diplomats' concern about air pollution in the national capital at a meeting with Chief of Protocol Sanjay Verma.
Dean of Diplomatic Corps Hans Dannenberg Castellanos, who represents more than 150 foreign missions in India, met with Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) officials to discuss the problem of air pollution in Delhi. Castellanos is also the Dominican Republic's Ambassador to India
The meeting was held after many diplomats - from various missions - raised the issue of health hazards caused by smog, and its impact on the "inflow of tourism." In fact, due to high pollution levels in the national capital, many diplomats have been forced to move out of Delhi, a PTI report said.
After his meeting with Chief of Protocol Sanjay Verma (an MEA official), Castellanos told India Today he "expressed the concern of that we all have, not only for the diplomats and their families but for all the residents of this city of New Delhi."
A lot of tourists from the nations represented by these diplomats "are cancelling their trips," he said.
"It's affecting the hotel industry."
Castellanos said the first point of contact is the Ministry of External Affairs, but that he would seek an appointment with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. "I will make a courtesy visit to the local government in Delhi. I plan to do it next week," he said.
In a press release, Castellanos' office quoted Sanjay Verma as having taken note of the concerns about the "environmental conditions."
"As you know, the downturn in the environment index affects not just the capital of the country, but many other parts of Northern India," he was quoted as saying.
The Dean of Diplomatic Corps' statement adds: "The unusual deterioration in the quality of air is a product of multiple causes, most of which are indeed domestic, that have also been aggravated by a dust storm from a distant geography."
The Narendra Modi government has been working to improve air quality in Delhi and its environs. The envoy was told this is a matter of "top priority".
Several diplomats India Today spoke to emphasised that the solution comes from "joint responsibility."Ambassador Castellanos reiterated this view.
He said he had shared methods and best practices followed by many other nations to reduce pollution and environmental hazards. "The Mexican ambassador had written a lengthy article on how Mexico coped with it...We are sharing some of the information with the Indian government. This is not only affecting Delhi but impacting India, including parts of Pakistan," he said.