Air pollution: North-western states to adopt hot spot approach

11 months ago 29
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Union minister for environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) Prakash Javadekar said 50 Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) teams would be deployed this winter in the Delhi-national capital region (NCR) in a bid to rein in the worsening air quality index (AQI) level, which has become an annual health hazard.

The CPCB authorities would also coordinate with some of the north-western states on a daily basis to monitor polluting emissions, Javadekar said.

Also read: Delhi HC wants Centre’s response on plea to stop stubble burning

The minister made the announcement following a review meeting with his counterparts from Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Delhi on Thursday.

These north-western states have been recording some of the worst AQIs in the country during winter over the past few years because of the seasonal stubble burning. Farmers set their fields ablaze to clear excess crop residue in time for the wheat sowing season, which leads to poor AQI across the region.

It was decided at the meeting that the north-western states will adopt a hot spot-based approach to control air pollution during the upcoming winter season.

For example, Delhi will focus on controlling pollution sources in 13 of its hot spots such as Mayapuri, Bawana, Narela, Dwarka, Rohini, RK Puram, and Jahangirpuri.

Similarly, Haryana will focus on Panipat, Sonepat, Jhajjar etc.

UP will concentrate its actions on Bulandshahr, Meerut, Noida, Greater Noida etc and Rajasthan will lay emphasis on Bhiwadi.

The trials of a microbial consortium -- also being called PUSA decomposer that has been developed by scientists at the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) -- have started in earnest across thousands of acres in all the stubble-burning states, Javadekar said.

“We may see the results of the trials within a year. The Centre has disbursed Rs 1,700 crore in the past three years for subsidising straw management machinery to Punjab, Haryana and UP. The move has also resulted in the reduction of pollution in areas under stubble burning,” he said.

Punjab government officials have informed the Centre that they are trying to create awareness in the worst stubble burning-affected districts and also explaining the common link between the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic and air pollution. “Both these factors affect lungs. The Punjab government is communicating this common link to the farmers and the public,” Javadekar added.

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