As winter descends on Delhi, the air quality in the city has deteriorated again to hazardous levels. With Covid-19 adding one more layer of danger—experts have said that air pollution can increase the transmission and severity of the disease—both the Narendra Modi government and the Arvind Kejriwal administration have been suggesting different methods, including a possible law to curb air pollution.
Earlier this month, the AAP government in Delhi said that it was setting up a “war room” and launching an anti-stubble spray as measures to curb air pollution in the city. However, this too is unlikely to solve Delhi’s air pollution problem.
Sarath Guttikunda, the founder-director of UrbanEmissions.Info, called the Kejriwal government’s latest initiative a “band-aid solution” in the place of a long-term plan. UrbanEmissions.Info is a database of research, analysis and information related to air pollution.
In an email interview with HuffPost India, Guttikunda said, “Today, we need accountability, financial support, and institutional support to tackle air pollution from all the corners.”
He said India has the solutions, citing the ratification of emission standards for coal-fired power plants in 2015, but these aren’t implemented properly or “replicated en masse”.
Guttikunda also spoke about why the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) is toothless, a lesson to learn from the Covid-19 lockdown and whether individual behavioural changes can make a difference in the absence of government support.
It has been a few years since GRAP has been in...