In a joint meeting of states with the Centre on Friday, the Delhi government urged the Union environment ministry to impose a complete ban on firecracker burning and the movement of diesel buses across the National Capital Region.
Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai told reporters here that Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav held a meeting with environment ministers of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. During this meeting, Delhi suggested several measures to curb pollution in the entire NCR region, he said.
Earlier, Mr Rai had requested the Centre to convene a meeting of all NCR states to collaboratively develop an action plan to combat pollution during the winter season.
In a letter to Mr Yadav, Mr Rai had said that the Delhi government has taken numerous steps to curb air pollution during the winter season but these steps won’t be effective unless Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh address the sources of pollution in the NCR region.
According to a report by independent environmental think tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), 31 per cent of Delhi’s pollution originates from sources within the national capital, while 69 per cent stems from sources in NCR states.
Mr Rai stressed that the states in the NCR should enforce a complete ban on firecrackers and stubble burning across the region and only permit CNG and electric vehicles to ply.
Many industrial units in NCR states still use polluting fuels. They should be swiftly converted to piped natural gas. The highly polluting brick kilns operating in NCR states should be required to adopt zig-zag technology to mitigate pollution, he said.
Also, electricity should be made available to all housing societies in NCR states to reduce reliance on diesel generators. The concerned state governments should also redirect non-destined vehicles from their point of origin on the Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways, he added.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government organised a run on Friday to raise awareness about the effects of air pollution and to seek public support in improving the city’s air quality.
Mr Rai said officials from various Delhi government departments participated in the ‘Run Against Pollution’ event and pledged to use public transport, turn off vehicle engines when the traffic signal turns red and maintain clean surroundings.
The government plans to relaunch the ‘Red Light On Gaadi Off’ campaign to combat vehicular pollution in the city. Another public awareness campaign, ‘Patakhe Nahi Diye Jalao,’ will be reintroduced to discourage the burning of firecrackers.
In accordance with the practice of the last three years, Delhi had last month announced a comprehensive ban on the manufacturing, storage, sale and use of firecrackers within the capital city.
The city government also introduced a 15-point action plan to mitigate air pollution in the capital during the winter season, focusing on addressing dust pollution, vehicular emissions, and open burning of garbage.
Specific action plans for each of the 13 air pollution hotspots in Delhi have been developed based on real-time air quality data collected from 40 monitoring stations in the capital. There are already ongoing campaigns to combat dust pollution and industrial emissions.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)