Emphasising that tackling pollution is a collective responsibility of all the stakeholders and that cooperation from all is required, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan expressed confidence that pollution will be tackled in a holistic manner next year.
Chairing a meeting on the issue of tackling air pollution yesterday, Dr. Harsh Vardhan reiterated that the practice of holding regular meetings with the Ministers of National Capital Region (NCR), to ensure that all the activities on the ground are monitored closely, will be continued. Also present in the meeting were Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, Minister for PWD, Government of Delhi, Satyendar Jain, Minister for Environment, Government of Uttar Pradesh, Dara Singh Chauhan, Environment Minister, Government of Haryana, Vipul Goyal and Secretary, Environment, Government of Rajasthan and Chairman, Pollution Control Board, Government of Punjab and senior officers from Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and MoEF&CC as well as CPCB.
Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, said that all sources that have been identified will be tackled to ensure that mitigation of air pollution is done effectively in Delhi. He added that the Government of Delhi will work closely with all agencies in tackling pollution. The meeting noted that the air quality in 2017 was better than the air quality in 2016. The number of good, moderate and satisfactory days in 2017 were 151, whereas the same were 109 days in 2016. Similarly, the number of very poor, poor and severe days in 2017 are 181, as compared to 214 days in 2016.
The meeting zeroed in on taking some steps like strict measures to be taken for controlling dust pollution. Dust from major construction sites will be monitored closely and any violation will be dealt with strictly. Mechanized sweeping will be taken up on a large scale. All possible assistance will be provided to the MCDs by the Central Government for increasing the scope of mechanized sweeping; fire from municipal solid waste dump sites will be tackled in an urgent manner. Innovative approaches, in consultation with Department of Science and Technology, will be adopted at the earliest to ensure that the issue of pollution is tackled; it was noted that the Task Force Committee headed by Principal Secretary to Prime Minister is examining the issue of stubble burning. It was further noted that an action plan to address this issue will be ready in the next one month; it was decided that the decision regarding ban on pet coke and furnace oil will be strictly enforced in all the NCR states; Delhi Police will be requested to tackle the issue of traffic congestion and parking in Delhi; and all steps will be taken to increase availability of public transport in the medium term.
The Pollution Control Boards will work in a proactive manner to ensure that violators are dealt with strictly. They will also ensure that awareness is created among the people. It was also decided that IEC activities to increase awareness and seeking cooperation from the general public will be taken up in a big way.
A special “Anti Pollution Drive” will be launched in the month of January, 2018 for 15 days, wherein there will be concerted action to tackle the issue of air pollution by all the agencies; and close interaction to be maintained with Science and Technology institutions to use innovative technologies available to tackle air pollution.