Delhi Breathes Pollution Again...
As the season changes, noxious air assails our lungs again. Stubble burning at this time of the year in Punjab, Haryana and western UP wreaks havoc in the quality of air in north India. Cooling temperatures and calmer post monsoon winds aid the movement of the particulate matter, produced by burning in these states, towards Delhi and the surrounding areas. The PM2.5 emitted from crop burning during October and November adds to Delhi’s existing load of air pollution. The pollution is also caused by:
- vehicular and diesel generator exhausts;
- noxious fumes from industrial plants;
- wood-burning fires;
- dust from construction sites;
- garbage burning;
- cracker burning;
- illegal industrial activities.
The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) recommended an action plan to combat air pollution in Delhi-NCR for the next few years, highlighted seven key areas, including time-bound implementation of parking policy in NCR and stringent enforcement in all identified hotspots, as important steps (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/epca-readies-plan-for-coming-years/articleshow/78920362.cms). The centre, on October 29, took note of the EPCA recommendations to set up a new 18-member panel to check pollution in Delhi-NCR region (https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/india/centre-sets-up-committee-to-tackle-air-pollution-in-delhi-ncr-polluters-may-face-5-year-jail-term-rs-1-crore-fine-6032941.html). An ordinance issued on October 29 said that the panel can send violators to up to five years in jail and/or fine them up to Rs 1 crore. With this latest panel formation, the EPCA stands dissolved.
The panel’s formation comes at a timely moment. The contribution of stubble burning to Delhi’s air increased from 18 percent on October 28 to 36 percent on October 29. If unchecked, it would have increased further. Hopefully, we will breathe better air soon.
Please browse through the latest Tatsat Communique where we have highlighted a few concerns of general public interest.
Sumi Gupta, Director, Tatsat Foundation