New Delhi, November 3
Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai on Friday called on Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav to be “aggressive” in tackling air pollution, saying the capital is not alone in breathing polluted air. He emphasized that it is not just the whole of northern India.
At a press conference held here, Prime Minister Rai said that while the Bharatiya Janata Party blames Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for the air pollution problem in Delhi, Chief Minister Kejriwal also blames Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for the poor air quality in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. He said he was not responsible.
Appealing to the Union Environment Minister to be “proactive”, Rai said, “Delhi seems to not have a Union Environment Ministry.”
Citing a study by the Center for Science and Environment, an independent think tank, he said 69 per cent of Delhi’s air pollution comes from neighboring states.
“We are taking all steps to address the issue, but no one knows what the environment ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana are doing,” he said.
He warned that the next 15 days are critical for Delhi-NCR and all state governments need to remain vigilant and cooperate in controlling air pollution.
Rai said the government had received feedback that air pollution monitoring teams set up by relevant ministries were not functioning properly on the ground.
“Therefore, we have issued instructions to all concerned departments to prepare mechanisms to monitor the activities of these teams,” he said.
Directions have also been issued to ensure implementation of directives issued by the Center’s committee on air quality management to control air pollution.
The Pollution Control Board on Thursday ordered a ban on non-essential construction work, stone crushing and mining in Delhi-NC as the national capital’s air quality plummeted to the ‘severe’ category.
Construction works related to national security or defense, projects of national importance, healthcare, railways, subways, airports, interstate bus terminals, highways, roads, viaducts, bridges, power transmission, pipelines, sanitation, and water supplies are exempt. From prohibition.
The measures are part of the third phase of the center’s air pollution prevention plan, the Graduated Response Action Plan (GRAP), which will be implemented in the region during the winter season.
Under Stage III, restrictions will also be imposed on the operation of BS III petrol and BS IV diesel four-wheelers in Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabad, Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddha Nagar.
GRAP classifies actions into four stages. Stage I – “Poor” (AQI 201-300). Stage II – “Very Bad” (AQI 301-400); Stage III – “Severe” (AQI 401-450). Stage IV – “severe plus” (AQI 450 or higher).
Delhi’s air quality plummeted to the ‘severe plus’ category on Friday morning, at which point all emergency measures including a ban on polluting trucks, commercial four-wheelers and all types of construction work were initiated and enforced. Mandatory.
The city’s AQI rose from 351 at 10 a.m. Thursday to 475 at noon Friday.