Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday said the Centre has called a meeting of environment ministers of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi on October 1 to review the air pollution management plans decided in 2016, The New Indian Express reported.
The decision came after stubble burning began in Punjab and amid reports of Delhi’s air quality likely to degrade. A government forecasting agency on Wednesday said that the air quality of Delhi was likely to enter the “poor category” by Friday, according to PTI. It was in the “moderate category” on Wednesday.
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.
The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research cited late withdrawal of monsoon and related stagnant winds as the reason behind the deterioration.
On Tuesday, Javadekar said the performance of the Central Pollution Control Board in the last two years will also be reviewed. Environment secretaries, representatives of the Delhi Development Authority, officials from the municipal corporations, pollution control boards and New Delhi Municipal Council will take part in the virtual meeting.
The environment minister said that two meetings with states from northwestern India were held earlier in August, Hindustan Times reported. He said the Centre had taken note of the air pollution problems and framed policies to deal with it. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought the national air quality index to make it easy for people to understand pollution levels.
Badarpur power plant was shut down, the Sonepat thermal power plant was also phased out, we built the peripheral expressway which was pending for 15 years. The expressway ensured that 60,000 trucks which passed through Delhi polluting it to reach other states could bypass Delhi; BS VI emission standards have been introduced and BS VI fuel is also available. We introduced waste management rules 2016 which includes rules for construction and demolition waste, 3000 industries in the national capital region (NCR) have got piped gas supply. So we are working on all fronts.— Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar
The Union minister said thatthe Indian Council for Agricultural Research will conduct trials to restrict crop stubble burning. He added that there was no magic bullet for solving problems of air pollution.
“The factors are meteorological and geographical which gets exacerbated by manmade factors every year during 2-3 months,” Javadekar said. “The Centre, the Delhi government, neighbouring states and citizens need to work in synergy. Its a shared responsibility.”