The Centre has held Delhi responsible for the alarming rise in pollution levels. In an emergency meeting of environment ministers of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh on Monday, union environment minister Anil Madhav Dave said only 20% of the pollution level in Delhi is because of crop burning in the neighbouring states. A whopping 80% is has come from the capital itself.
“Delhi is responsible for 80% of the problem, only 20% is due to crop burning. Pollution control has to be a year long effort” said environment minister Anil Madhav Dave.
The minister also urged parties to stop playing blame game over the matter.
“There must not be blame game here. Right now the priority is to make air pollution-free so that the people can breathe. We will issue an environment protection calendar which will be state specific. Dust is one of the major reasons for pollution,” Dave told ANI.
Even as the Dave blamed Delhi, the Aam Admi Party government demanded that the Centre conduct a fresh study to find out sources of emission and their respective share in polluting the national capital’s air.
“…satellite imagery from NASA shows large scale crop burning and pollution from the industries of nearby states like Punjab and Haryana, which have tremendous amounts of pollution. In this scenario, it is imperative that the source of emissions and their respective pollutant load contribution is investigated for the entire NCR,” Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain said.
Earlier today, the National Green Tribunal once again lashed out at them for not taking timely preventive steps to tackle air pollution.
“What preventive steps did you take on air pollution in national capital? We want to know from you why didn’t your authorities sprinkle water on roads earlier? Why can’t you use helicopters to create artificial rain to control dust pollution. Are they only meant to carry your officials,” asked a bench headed by NGT Chairperson justice Swatanter Kumar.
The green tribunal also attacked the governments of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan for not being able to contain the burning of farmlands.
The NGT bench also criticised the union environment ministry over repeated absence of its representative during its proceedings.
On Sunday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal ordered a slew of measures to bring down the thick smog that has engulfed the city for over a week now. The Government decided to close all schools for the next three days and shut down all constructions and demolitions for five days. He also said that the government was exploring the possibility of bringing back the odd-even road rationing scheme and appealed to people to stay indoors.
Meanwhile, all eyes will be on the Supreme Court when it hears a petition on pollution levels in Delhi on Tuesday.
“Delhi is in danger, it is a public health emergency. We have appealed to the Supreme Court to take strict actions,” said environmentalist Sunita Narain.
According to a report by the Centre for Science and Environment, the national capital region is facing the worst smog in 17 years.
(With inputs from agencies)