Emphasising that rules should be enforced and there should be no laxity, Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan today reviewed the preparations for the two-week long drill to mitigate air pollution in Delhi. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the campaign should not be just symbolic and complaints and feedback should be monitored from the ground. “It is not just a technical requirement, it is the moral responsibility of all agencies, both at the Central and State level. “A message should go that we are serious. It is linked to our national image now,” he said. The Minister added that a model should be created at the end of the two-week campaign to combat air pollution across the country.A war room will be set up in the Central Pollution Control Board to monitor daily progress and suggest midway corrections, if required. Officials said that they will monitor the level of pollution at the end of the campaign and hoped that it will improve drastically. The exercise will continue throughout the year with the participation of local bodies and Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs). Officials of the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change told the participants that 131 tonnes of dust is emitted in Delhi every day and controlling it will bring down air pollution drastically.
Recently, the Centre had notified dust mitigation norms. The norms mandate that –
No building or infrastructure project requiring Environmental Clearance shall be implemented without approved Environmental Management Plan inclusive of dust mitigation measures.Roads leading to or at construction sites must be paved and blacktopped (i.e. metallic roads),No excavation of soil shall be carried out without adequate dust mitigation measures in place, No loose soil or sand or Construction & Demolition Waste or any other construction material that causes dust shall be left uncovered,Wind-breaker of appropriate height i.e. 1/3rd of the building height and maximum up to 10 meters shall be provided,Water sprinkling system shall be put in place andDust mitigation measures shall be displayed prominently at the construction site for easy public viewing.The teams are empowered to take on-the-spot action against violators and if necessary, issue “stop-work” orders. The campaign will also include enforcement of pollution-control measures for vehicles, driving discipline, inspection of power plants in Delhi to ensure compliance with the norms on pollution.
Besides field surveys by empowered teams of officials, a series of seminars on mitigation of pollution will also be organised during the period. These include - a workshop on Environmental and Health; Air Pollution Abatement Technologies; enlisting support from NGOs, Civil Society, citizens; Clean Air Day in Universities, Colleges and Schools; a Mini Marathon for Clean Air; enhancing the role of PSUs and industries, apex industrial bodies; launching a national digital forum for discussions on air pollution; Indoor Air Pollution Management and a conference of Environment Ministers of States and Union Territories.Congratulating Dr. Harsh Vardhan for taking the initiative, Delhi’s Environment Minister Imran Hussain extended full support from Delhi government to the campaign. Delhi’s Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash suggested that the Delhi government will enlist the support of schools across the national capital to sensitise students about the gravity of pollution and its short-term and long-term impact. He added that Delhi Police and Transport Department of Delhi will also be involved in the campaign.Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Delhi’s Environment Minister Shri Imran Hussain, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri C.K. Mishra and Chief Secretary of Delhi, Shri Anshu Prakash were among those present at the review meeting. Besides, officials from MoEF&CC and representatives from Delhi Government, Central and State Pollution Control Boards, four Municipal Corporations of Delhi and New Delhi Municipal Corporation were among those present at the meeting.