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Delhi Government shifts blame on Centre and “people” over worsening air quality

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Wednesday said the “People” of Delhi are responsible for the bad air quality of the national capital.

SNS | New Delhi |

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Wednesday said the “People” of Delhi are responsible for the bad air quality of the national capital.

Addressing a press conference, Rai said, “I appeal to people if possible work from home and avoid taking out private vehicles. 50% of the pollution is from vehicles. People shouldn’t burst crackers.”

The air quality in the national capital continued to remain in the ‘very poor’ category on Wednesday morning as the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of the city stood at 354.

Noida, which is part of the national capital region, slipped to an AQI of 406, and continued to remain in the ‘severe’ category, while Gurugram’s AQI stood at 346 and continued to remain in the ‘very poor category, as per data released by SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research) India.

The deteriorating air quality in the Delhi NCR region remains a problem around this time of the year. It also becomes a contentious issue with various state governments blaming each other for what has now become an annual problem.

The burning of agricultural waste in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, according to analysts, is one of the primary reasons for the rising air pollution in the region.

Taking to a microblogging site, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai added, “The central government of BJP should support the farmers for the solution of stubble, not abuse. BJP first increases pollution and then does politics on it, while the Delhi government is doing everything possible to reduce pollution.”

Air Quality Index from 0 to 100 is considered as good, while from 100 to 200 it is moderate, from 200 to 300 it is poor, and from 300 to 400 it is said to be very poor and from 400 to 500 or above it is considered as severe.

“I request the UP and Haryana governments to form a regional special task force to reduce air pollution in areas adjoining Delhi like Gurugram, Faridabad, Ghaziabad and Noida. The pollution problem is not the state’s problem. It happens due to the air system that develops” Rai said while urging the governments of BJP-led governments of the states adjoining Delhi.

Meanwhile, last week, Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and adjoining areas intensified efforts to ensure enforcement and compliance with its directions after the air quality of the national capital plunged to the “severe” category on Friday.

Environmentalist Vimlendu Jha told ANI that severe category AQI is very dangerous for health and it affects even healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases.

“In such circumstances, the school should be closed and outdoor movement should be prohibited because severe category AQI impacts all aspects of life,” Jha said.

As per the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, the commission has been informing and sensitizing all stakeholders (industrial houses, commercial establishments, construction agencies, State Govt/ GNCTD agencies, ULBs in NCR and the public at large) about the preventive, mitigative and restrictive actions required to be taken under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

Stage-I and Stage II of the revised GRAP were invoked by the Commission on October 5 and October 19 respectively.

“Besides GRAP and a comprehensive “Policy to curb air pollution in NCR”, various statutory directions, advisories and orders including have been issued by the Commission from time to time for appropriate measures by various agencies concerned,” the Ministry had said in a statement.

( With Inputs from ANI )