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Smog, Delhi and Diwali

 

Monday June 09, 2014

Smog, Pollution, Public Health, Diwali, Cracker, Delhi, India  
 

"Responding to the serious public health concerns over the severe smog episode in Delhi, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) recently convened two separate meetings with the senior officials of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in the capital of India. The meeting was to assess the prevailing smog conditions and the remedial measures needed for immediate impact."

 

HNF Correspondent

 
 

Smog and Diwali are now in talks everywhere in India's capital city of Delhi. While the issues related to smog are closely linked with public health concerns in the national capital region, smokes to be released by the crackers on Diwali are believed to add to the woes of the smog impact in Delhi. Diwali, usually falls in the month of November, is the annual cracker festival of India where every family, every individual fires crackers as part of the celebration.

The Smog menace

Responding to the serious public health concerns over the severe smog episode in Delhi, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) recently convened two separate meetings with the senior officials of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in the capital of India. The meeting was to assess the prevailing smog conditions and the remedial measures needed for immediate impact.

 

The air shed of the national capital region is already saturated and it has no room left for more pollution.

EPCA also took serious note of the recent reports on the practice of burning post harvest paddy stubble in the agricultural fields of Punjab and its contribution to the severe smog in Delhi. Satellite images released by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) showed large number of fires over agriculture fields of Punjab. EPCA discussed the nature of the problem and the remedial measures in the high powered meeting it convened.

EPCA emphasized that while Delhi would need to step up its action to curb the alarmingly high pollution levels, NCR-wide action plan has become an urgency to ensure that trans-boundary effects of pollution is minimized.

Save Delhi from Pollution

Based on the information and status of action presented by the respective state governments, EPCA gave directions to declare paddy straw burning in Punjab and Haryana an offence, ensure complete ban on it in two years and execute plans for power generation and bio-methanation, using left-over rice/ paddy straw in the next two years.

In order to effectively implement the ban, EPCA sought Central Government support to the proposal from the two states to provide 50 per cent subsidy on price of new agricultural equipment “Zero till seeding fertilizer machine” or “Rotavator” that, while recycling the straw, has three advantages like, stop burning of left-over straw after harvesting, fertilize the soil and carbon capture in the soil.

In a separate meeting convened with Environment and Transport Department officials of NCR region (Ghaziabad, Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad), APCA directed the Officials of Transport Department, Delhi and respective states to take stringent action on gross polluting vehicles by holding inspection at five border points and stop any vehicle emitting dark smoke from entering or exiting border and initiate action against the defaulters.

Officials of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana State Pollution Control Board looking after Ghaziabad, Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad region are asked to take immediate and stepped up measures towards enforcement of pollution norms by industries and ban on garbage and leaf burning. They will also ensure that generator sets used by both industries and commercial establishments meet the emissions norms.

To ensure effective monitoring of action, EPCA has asked the concerned state departments to send weekly update on actions taken. Officials of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana State Pollution Control Board looking after Ghaziabad, Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad region are advised to prepare and submit proposal to the Central Government for installation of continuous ambient air quality monitoring stations in critically polluted areas and pollution hotspots.

CAIT appeals Delhites to use eco-friendly Crackers

Taking into consideration the smog that has engulfed the city of Delhi and expressing concern over possible increase in pollution on Diwali because of fire crackers, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has advised the traders of Delhi in a communication sent to more than 1000 small and big Trade Associations and Federations in all parts of Delhi to use and promote environment friendly crackers. CAIT has also advised cracker traders to educate their customers in the same line.

While appealing the traders to promote eco friendly crackers, CAIT said in a release that “being a citizen of Delhi, the traders do have a responsibility to participate in the drive of educating people about the ill effects of crackers in increasing pollution that have hazardous impact on human health.”

Over 5 lakh traders across Delhi can play a vital role in making this drive successful, believes CAIT.

 
 

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