Strongly emphasising collective action by all the municipal and other agencies to work together to ensure cleaner air in the coming months, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has said that the Centre has provided all possible assistance such as grant of Rs. 1150 crore from Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) to tackle stubble burning to the States of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and also provided financial assistance under Urban Development Fund (UDF) to Delhi for procurement of mechanical road sweeping machines, water sprinklers and greening. Addressing a meeting of Environment Ministers and senior officers of the five States of Delhi-NCR to ensure better preparedness towards improving air quality, here today, Dr. Vardhan underlined that enhanced enforcement and prompt action by concerned agencies must be ensured to create a positive impact on air quality. The meeting discussed the steps taken to address air pollution during the winter months and reviewed various steps taken to ensure better preparedness towards improving air quality in Delhi-NCR during the coming months, in comparison to previous years.
The number of Good, Satisfactory and Moderate days increased from 144 in 2017 to 149 in 2018. Similarly, the number of Poor, Very Poor and Severe days decreased from 125 in 2017 to 120 in 2018 till date.The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had deployed 41 teams in Delhi-NCR for ground-level inspection of activities that cause pollution from September 15 this year. CPCB has also issued directions to concerned State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs), MCDs, construction agencies, transport and agricultural departments to prepare targeted action plans for air polluting sources and to implement these plans. Three mitigation pilot projects have also been sanctioned for deployment in Delhi. In addition, several steps such as restriction on the use of petcoke and furnace oil in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, introduction of BS VI compliant petrol in Delhi since April 2018, conversion of brick kilns to zig-zag technology, issuance of list of approved fuels permissible for use within the borders of NCT of Delhi, operationalisation of Eastern Peripheral Expressway to ease congestion and diversion of traffic from Delhi, financial incentive for in-situ crop residue management in Haryana and Punjab, are likely to have a positive impact on the ambient air quality in the coming months.
With a view to enhance public participation, CPCB has invited proposals through crowd sourcing. Any person with any practical idea has been invited to participate in the collective endeavour.It was also emphasised at the meeting that NCR states should ensure that farm implements that are being distributed to tackle stubble burning should be completed in the next 10 days to ensure that no stubble burning incident takes place in the States of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Ambient air quality monitoring network is being expanded in NCR States and more data is expected to facilitate better air quality management decisions. Minister of State, MoEF&CC, Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Environment and Forest Minister, NCT of Delhi, Mr Imran Hussain, Minister of Environment & Forest, Uttar Pradesh, Mr Dara Singh Chauhan and senior officers from MoEF&CC, CPCB, as well as from the States of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh attended the meeting.