Toxic air blankets Delhi and parts of North India every winter. The city chokes with pollution as breathing becomes difficult, a health crisis takes shape and predictably a large part of the blame is pinned, year after year, on stubble burning alone.
Stubble burning is a factor, yes. But environmentalist Vimlendu Jha explains that there is a lot more such as vehicular pollution, thermal power plants and toxic politics that goes into turning Delhi into “a gas chamber” every year; and in order to combat the problem, those long-term factors ought to be taken seriously, as well.
“People say stubble burning is the main contributor to pollution in North India, which is false, because stubble burning is an episodic source,” Vimlendu Jha told The Quint.
"“It is not stubble burning alone that makes Delhi a gas chamber. There are other sources of pollution, many of which Delhi keeps getting throughout the year.” " - Vimlendu Jha
Other sources listed by the environmentalist include:
Unregulated, haphazard construction and demolition activity
Open burning of garbage
Thermal power plants around Delhi
He shared that barring the first, which is episodic, most of the other factors subsume the country throughout the year.
Pollution, Politics & Long-Term Solutions
Answering a question about a connection between pollution and politics, Vimlendu Jha pointed out how the Centre blames the state and vice versa, and how not much really gets done in the process.
“This is what is called toxic politics,” said Jha.
He then shed light on how building a smog tower will not really be a solution to the Delhi pollution problem, and how long-term solutions are needed to recover from this crisis.
Watch the video above for the full interview.
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