NEW DELHI: As the air quality in Delhi began deteriorating, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday urged neighbouring states, the Supreme Court, and the National Green Tribunal to “do something” about burning of crop residue, the smoke from which chokes the national capital in winter.
“I again urge all the governments to please do something about it. I request all the institutions — Supreme Court, NGT — to do something so that the health of the people is not affected,” Kejriwal said during a press conference. The chief minister has said the burning of crop residue in neighbouring Haryana and Punjab is responsible for the deteriorating air quality in Delhi.
“It’s just the beginning, reports say that from last week of October to mid-November, pollution will rise,” he said. The chief minister said that it was for the first time that the air quality in Delhi was in the “good” category during the past four months. He said the distribution of anti-pollution masks on a large scale will begin within a week.
The Delhi government has announced an action plan, including measures such as the odd-even traffic rationing scheme, to curb pollution. The odd-even scheme will come into force from November 4 and last till November 15. Stricter measures under the Graded Response Action Plant will come into force in Delhi-NCR on Tuesday, as per the directives of the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority.
On Sunday night, the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi touched the 301 mark, which falls in the “very poor” category, according to the data from the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).
The EPCA chairman, Bhure Lal, has visited pollution hot spots in Delhi-NCR and assessed preparedness for GRAP implementation. He has directed Delhi and the adjoining states to ensure pollution levels do not rise further even during adverse weather. The panel has sought local action plans for pollution hotspots — 14 in Delhi and five in the National Capital Region.
Ministry asked to file status report on stubble burning
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to file a status report on the recommendations of a high-level task force on the prevention of stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.
The issue came up before a bench of justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta when senior advocate Aparajita Singh, assisting the top court as an amicus curiae in the pollution matter, said that the Union ministry should be asked to file a status report on this.