The Government will immediately set up a Control Room in Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to undertake a daily review of levels of air pollution and monitor air quality in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR). Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar said here today, that directions will be issued shortly under Section 18 of Air Act to improve the air quality in Delhi and National Capital Region. Shri Javadekar appealed to the citizens and the children in particular, to say No to firecrackers during Diwali. The Minister also urged the citizens to maintain lane discipline on the roads and streets to reduce congestion and pollution. He also asked the citizens to ensure proper maintenance of their vehicles and use bicycles for short distances.
The Minister reviewed the one-year action plan submitted by various state governments in July this year at today’s meeting. All the state governments will submit three-month reports to the Centre on the steps taken to reduce air pollution and improve the ambient air quality. Various measures were suggested to reduce and eliminate stubble burning. These include – viable alternatives to discourage stubble burning, imposing a ban and providing subsidies on bail machines.
While Punjab government has started an awareness programme to educate farmers on the ill-effects of burning stubble and burning of biomass, Rajasthan government has banned stubble burning in the state through a notification issued in August this year. In Punjab, mechanised road cleaning has been started in Mohali and it will soon be expanded to include other cities. The Rajasthan government has increased the number of PUC checkpoints from 475 to 800.
In Delhi, strict enforcement of Pollution Under Control (PUC) norms has been stepped up. Recently, one lakh vehicles were checked, out of which 70, 000 vehicles were found to have valid PUCs. The number of PUC checking points has been increased. The trials for Waste to Energy plant at Ghazipur have been conducted successfully and the plant will be formally inaugurated soon. Delhi government has also sent a letter to 2, 000 schools and eco-clubs, requesting them to say no to firecrackers and minimise the use of firecrackers on Diwali.
Captain Abhimanyu, Minister, government of Haryana, Shri Raj Kumar Rinwa, Minister, Government of Rajasthan and Shri Imran Hussain, Minister, Government of NCT of Delhi, officials from New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Delhi Traffic Police, as well as officials from the governments of Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi were also present at the meeting.