Delhi to launch massive anti-air pollution campaign from Oct 5: Gopal Rai

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Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Thursday said the city government will launch a mega anti-air pollution campaign on October 5 and a centre is being set up in Najafgarh to produce a chemical to deal with stubble burning.

Rai said he has appealed to the Centre and the neighbouring states to use the chemical developed by scientists at Indian Agricultural Research Institute here to manage stubble.

“Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will launch a mega anti-air pollution campaign after a meeting with officials from departments of environment, transport, development, PWD, Delhi Development Authority, Delhi Jal Board, traffic police and municipal corporations,” he said.

At a meeting of NCR states with Union Environment Prakash Javadekar, Rai asked the Centre to take time-bound action to ensure the 11 thermal power plants and more than 1,900 brick kilns using outdated technology in the national capital region control their emissions.

There are 11 plants around Delhi -- in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab -- which were supposed to retrofit their units with technology called flue-gas desulphurisation to reduce emissions by December 2019.   Rai said there are more than 1,640 such brick kilns in Uttar Pradesh, 161 in Haryana and 164 Rajasthan. “All these contribute to Delhi’s air pollution massively,” he said.

The minister said the Delhi government presented its plan to tackle stubble burning in the city during the meeting with Javadekar.

He said a centre is being set up in Kharkhari village in Najafgarh where “bio-decomposer” solution will be prepared in around 400 containers starting Tuesday.

IARI’s new technology involves a liquid formulation prepared using bio-decomposer capsules, fermenting it over 8-10 days and then spraying the mixture on crop residue to ensure speedy bio-decomposition of the stubble.

Capsules worth Rs. 20 can effectively deal with 4-5 tonnes of raw straw per acre.

Rai said the Centre has been providing subsidies up to 80 percent on farm machinery, but farmers still have to pay from their own pocket to use it.  “The Pusa bio-decomposer capsule is an economically viable option. We have estimated that only Rs. 20 lakh is needed to manage stubble in 800 hectares of agricultural land in Delhi,” he said.

Javadekar said Uttar Pradesh will be using the “Pusa microbial decomposer capsule” technology over 10,000 hectares and Delhi over 800 hectares this year.

The Delhi government has been directed to focus on the 13 pollution hotspots in the city. 50 teams of the Central Pollution Control Board will be deployed in Delhi-NCR region to take appropriate action this year, the Union minister said.

Rai said an action plan has been prepared to stop stubble burning in the city.

Under it, farmers will fill a form providing details such as name, address, village, the area where they produce non-basmati rice and the date when they want the government to spray the chemical to tackle stubble burning.

Based on this form the Delhi government will send officials to spray the chemical at the designated farmland. Agricultural development officers of all the districts will lead this work, he said.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)

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