Strongly emphasizing the Government’s commitment to address various issues related to air quality and pollution, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, has said that along with the initiatives taken by the Government, the participation of the society is an imperative. Launching the air quality early warning system for Delhi, here today, Dr. Harsh Vardhan pointed out that with an outlay of Rs. 1151.80 crore under the new Central Sector Scheme, the Centre has already released Rs. 591.65 crore to Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi for the promotion of agricultural mechanization for in-situ management of crop residue.
Calling the 41 teams of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) as the ‘eyes and ears’ of MoEF&CC, the Minister stated that these teams have been deployed in Delhi and NCR cities of Ghaziabad, NOIDA, Gurugram and Faridabad to monitor and supervise dust mitigation and other air pollution abatement measures to ensure effective compliance. He also pointed out that Badarpur thermal power plant is being closed from October 15, 2018 and the number of mechanized road sweeping machines in Delhi will increase from 52 to 64 by the end of November 2018. He also averred that the use of water sprinklers and the opening of Western Peripheral Expressway will bring about a further reduction in pollution.
In his remarks, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri C.K Mishra, said that the number of Good, Satisfactory And Moderate days is 157 in 2018 (Up to October 13) compared to 150 in 2017 and 107 in 2016 duringthe corresponding period. He added that similarly, the number of Poor, Very Poor and Severe days have come down from 167 in 2016 to 136 in 2017 to 129 in 2018 (Up to 13th October) during the corresponding period.
Comparing the PM10 and PM2.5 levels, Shri Mishra underlined that both PM 10 and PM 2.5 have shown a significant reduction in the winter months (Sept-Oct) this year compared to last year. A tabular representation is given below:
|Sept 2017||Sept 2018||Oct 2017 ( upto 11th)||Oct 2018 (upto 11th)|
There is a reduction of 46% in the PM10 levels in Sept 2018 compared to last year and a 15% reduction in October. There is a reduction of 28 % in the PM2.5 levels in Sept 2018 compared to last year and a reduction of 22 % in October.
Shri Mishra also underlined that the number of active fire detections in 2018 is less in comparison to 207 and 2016 till 14th October 2018 (From Sep 1, 2018).
The numbers are 75% lower than last year in Punjab and 40% lower in case of Haryana.
Secretary, MoEF&CC also stated that Punjab has distributed 7062 (91%) out of 8309 farm implements to individual farmers and has established 4795 (92 %) CHCs out of 5321 CHCs. Shri Mishra added that Haryana has distributed 2814(51%) out of 5563 farm implements to individual farmers and has established 857 (70%) CHCs out of 1230 Custom Hiring Centres and the remaining work is likely to be completed this week. He underlined that Eastern Peripheral Expressway has been operational since last week of May 2018 and steps are being taken for 100% divergence of non-destined trucks entering Delhi.
Shri Mishra also said that Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has added 906 new coaches. Out of this, 704 coaches have already been commissioned and remaining 206 are under commissioning stage. 427 AC buses (198 Electric + 229 CNG) are being added by DMRC as last mile connectivity by November 30, 2018. He also pointed out that out of 1131 industrial units in Delhi, about 950 units have switched over to PNG and the remaining have been issued closure directions.
Some of the other steps taken by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change include – 722 brick kilns in Delhi and NCR have switched over to Zig- Zag technology; brick kilns that have not converted to Zig-Zag technology will not be allowed to operate in Delhi NCR; for effective control of dust during winters, 400 water sprinklers will be deployed by municipal corporations in Delhi; Adherence to SoPs at construction sites and mandatory implementation of dust mitigation measures by all construction agencies has been mandated. Failure to comply will result in stoppage of work by DPCC/CPCB; three pilot projects for abatement of air pollution are being initiated: WAYUs at 7 traffic intersections in Delhi; air filters on 30 buses of Manav Rachna University and dust suppressant chemicals at some construction sites; CCTV cameras have been installed at sanitary landfill sites; fencing has been done and guards have been deployed to ensure that no fire takes place at these sites.