New Delhi, Oct 9 (PTI) The AAP government is taking the lead in fight against air pollution in Delhi-NCR, but the neighbouring states are still 'not serious' about the issue despite it becoming 'more dangerous' due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai has said.
He said the AAP government wants cooperation not confrontation with other states on the issue of air pollution. “The land has been divided into states but the sky is one.” He said the “Pusa bio-decomposer” initiative as a solution to stubble burning will benefit Haryana and Punjab more, and Delhi's benefit is that it will get rid of the smoke from farm fires that make the city a gas chamber every year.
Stubble burning has started in Haryana and Punjab, which contributes significantly to the rise in pollution levels in Delhi and the National Capital Region.
In view of air quality in Delhi-NCR hitting poor level, a Supreme Court-mandated body Thursday announced implementation of graded response action plan (GRAP) from October 15 and a ban on the use of diesel generators, except for essential and emergency services in Delhi and the neighbouring cities of Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Faridabad and Gurugram.
“We are the only government which is serious about it (pollution level). We are working on a mission mode. Many states in India have been battling severe air pollution, but they don’t seem very active despite it being a major challenge, especially in the times of coronavirus,” Rai told PTI in an interview on Thursday.
“We are very concerned about our 13 hotpots and working hard to reduce pollution levels there, but other states have hotspots as well. They have not been making enough efforts,” the minister said.
Rai said the Delhi government has been taking action against dust, biomass burning, stubble and vehicular pollution.
“We have been doing all that we can, but we become helpless when pollution from other regions affects Delhi’s airshed.
“The land has been divided into states but the sky is one. Our geographic location is such that pollutants from all directions converge here,” he said.
But air pollution in Delhi hit “severe” levels only when stubble burning is at its peak. The city becomes a gas chamber then, the minister asserted.
The crop residue burning has not stopped despite the Supreme Court issuing strict directions in this regard, Rai said.
“The issue concerns Punjab and Haryana, but Delhi is working more on it. Stubble burning is minimal in Delhi, still we are taking steps to deal with it,” he said.
“We are working with Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa… took an initiative. We want to take the lead and set an example for other states.
“What we are working on will benefit Punjab and Haryana more. Delhi’s benefit is that it will get rid of smoke from farm fires,” he said.
The environment minister said Delhi “wants cooperation (of other states) and not confrontation” on the issue of pollution. PTI GVS BUN TIR TIR