Monday March 25, 2019
Home India Delhi Facing ...

Delhi Facing Worst Smog in Past 17 Years, says Centre for Science and Environment

Many schools across the city have either shut down or ended all outdoor activities

0
//
FILE - A man covers his face as he rides in front of the landmark India Gate, enveloped by smoke and smog, in New Delhi, India, Oct. 31, 2016. As Indians wake to smoke-filled skies from a weekend of festival fireworks for the Hindu holiday of Diwali, New Delhi's worst season for air pollution begins, with dire consequences. VOA

New Delhi, November 5, 2016: Even for a city considered one of the world’s most polluted, the Indian capital hit a new low this week.

Air so dirty you can taste and smell it; a gray haze that makes a gentle stroll a serious health hazard.

NewsGram brings to you latest new stories in India.

According to one advocacy group, government data shows that the smog that enveloped the city midweek was the worst in the last 17 years. The concentration of PM2.5, tiny particulate pollution that can clog lungs, averaged close to 700 micrograms per cubic meter. That’s 12 times the government norm and a whopping 70 times the WHO standards.

The Delhi winter, once a glorious time of clear, crisp days that meant holidays and weekends spent picnicking in its many public parks, is now a time of annual health woes.

As millions struggle with hacking coughs and burning eyes, many schools across the city have either shut down or ended all outdoor activities. Doctors have asked people to stay indoors during the worst days.

An Indian woman looks for air pollution mask inside a shop in New Delhi, India, Nov. 4, 2016. A new report from UNICEF says about a third of the 2 billion children in the world who are breathing toxic air live in northern India and neighboring countries. VOA
An Indian woman looks for air pollution mask inside a shop in New Delhi, India, Nov. 4, 2016. A new report from UNICEF says about a third of the 2 billion children in the world who are breathing toxic air live in northern India and neighboring countries. VOA

Yet many of the problems that turn Delhi’s air so toxic continue unabated. People still set off massive amounts of festival fireworks, piles of garbage burn all night and dust from the construction projects that dot the city is unchecked.

And at the start of every winter, farmers in the states bordering the city begin burning straw from their rice paddy crop to clear the fields for planting wheat.

“Sources of pollution in Delhi and outside of Delhi have exponentially increased in the last couple of days,” said Polash Mukerjee, a research associate with the Centre for Science and Environment, a Delhi-based research and lobbying organization.

He said that wind direction is blowing toward Delhi from all directions, especially from Punjab and Haryana, “where there are large incidences of crop fires that we are detecting even today.”

Limits on trucks

Over the last two years, the government has tried a slew of measures to control air pollution, including stricter emission norms for cars and a tax on diesel-fueled trucks that enter the city.

Go to NewsGram and check out news related to political current issues.

New Delhi also has attempted to limit the number of cars during the winter months, when air quality is at its worst. Twice the city imposed a two-week period in which cars were allowed on the roads only on even or odd days, depending on the vehicle’s license plate number.

Last month, the city launched a smartphone application called “Change the Air,’’ inviting residents to send photos and complaints about sources of pollution, from the burning of leaves and garbage in public parks to construction crews working without dust control measures.

But despite announcing new measures, the city has struggled with enforcing them on a regular basis.

Regulations unenforced

One of the biggest struggles is crop burning in neighboring areas, where despite attempting to enforce cash fines on farmers enforcement has been hard. For the farmers, it’s cheaper to burn rice paddy straw than hire people to carry it away.

“Pollution is also caused by diesel cars, factories, and many other sources. Farmers only do this for one month of the year,” said Bijendar Singh, a farmer in neighboring Haryana state, as he watched his paddy straw burn.

Look for latest news from India in NewsGram.

“It is a compulsion for farmers to do this. Because of this compulsion, we spread air pollution. As much as it harms the people sitting in Delhi, it harms us and our children even more,” he said.

CSE’s Mukerjee said that the government hasn’t worked out a strategy to help farmers dispose of their crop waste.
“Paddy straw that lies in your field today, as a farmer, it is absolutely worthless to me. I don’t earn anything out of it. Why should I spend money collecting it?” Mukherjee asked. (VOA)

Next Story

Now The Delhi Government Comes Up With The Food Wastage Check Policy At Social Gatherings

"If the food is surplus due to lower turnout of the guest and resultant less consumption, then it shall be the responsibility of organiser of the social function to remove that food from the social function site, immediately after the completion of the duration of that social function," it says.

0
food wastage
"Further, officers of respective ULB will conduct random or complaint-based inspection. The violations would be noted with proofs by the inspecting officers without the disrupting the function. In the event of violation of any of the conditions, the penalty would be imposed against violators under specific act/rules/orders." Pixabay

The Delhi government has drafted a policy to keep a check on the wastage of food at social functions in the national capital.

All organisers and caterers will have to register themselves with NGOs to manage the surplus and leftover food for distribution among the underprivileged, says the draft policy.

“The caterer should make proper arrangements to handover fresh surplus and leftover food to these NGOs,” reads the Draft ‘Policy for Holding Social Functions in Hotels, Motels and Low-Density Residential Area (LDRA) in National Capital Territory of Delhi’.

According to the draft policy, the owner, organiser, and the caterer must have the necessary permissions including FSSAI license from Delhi’s Department of Food Safety, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to run their kitchens or to sell or serve prepared food for the guest and the consumer.

“They should be registered with some NGO to manage surplus/leftover food by distributing the same among underprivileged. The caterer should make proper arrangements to handover fresh surplus and leftover food to these NGOs.

The food preparation should be according to the ceiling of the number of guests as per prescribed capacity of the motel and LDRA. The number of guests cannot exceed the guest limit approved by the Urban Local Body (ULB) for that function site, it says.

“If the food is surplus due to lower turnout of the guest and resultant less consumption, then it shall be the responsibility of organiser of the social function to remove that food from the social function site, immediately after the completion of the duration of that social function,” it says.

food
According to the draft policy, the owner, organiser, and the caterer must have the necessary permissions including FSSAI license from Delhi’s Department of Food Safety, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to run their kitchens or to sell or serve prepared food for the guest and the consumer. Pixabay

The Commissioner Food Safety shall ensure that the above conditions are strictly followed; any violation thereof would invite action from the deployed officers by the Commissioner Food Safety, the draft policy reads.

The rules will be enforced by periodical inspections, which shall be conducted by officers of various state stakeholder agencies.

“Further, officers of respective ULB will conduct random or complaint-based inspection. The violations would be noted with proofs by the inspecting officers without the disrupting the function. In the event of violation of any of the conditions, the penalty would be imposed against violators under specific act/rules/orders.”

“The capacity of the space should be determined by multiplying the total number of car parking available by four or by means the number of persons obtained by dividing the gross floor area of the premises by occupant load factor at 1.5 sqm, whichever is less,” says the document.

It said adding that the total number of days on which a social function can be organised are restricted to 120 days in authorized/approved spaces.

food wastage
The food preparation should be according to the ceiling of the number of guests as per prescribed capacity of the motel and LDRA. The number of guests cannot exceed the guest limit approved by the Urban Local Body (ULB) for that function site, it says.
Pixabay

The draft also said that motels and LDRA should be constructed as per sanctioned building plan.
“Minimum area of LDRA must be equals or more than 2.5 acres. Only such Motel and LDRA houses should be permitted to hold social functions which have proper access to the road from a main road (60 ft wide or more) and the LDRA should not be located at a road which ends in a dead end,” it said.

According to an official from the government, the decision to formulate a comprehensive policy regulating social functions was taken after the direction of the Supreme Court.

“Further, in view of Motel Policy of Ministry of Tourism 1995, policy for holding social functions in Farmhouses of Government of NCT of Delhi, Master Plan 2021(MPD 2021), amendments in MPD-2021 notified in 2013, a comprehensive policy was required to be drafted,” the official told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

Also Read: Build a Better Mobile App Using These 3 Key Steps

The Chief Secretary has constituted a committee of four officers, including Principal Secretaries of Urban Development and Health, Chief Executive Officer, Delhi Jal Board and Member Secretary, Delhi Pollution Control Committee, to draft the policy.

“Accordingly, the committee after consultation with all stakeholders drafted the policy keeping in mind concerns of Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) and Supreme Court such as stop the use of perennially installed semi-permanent pandals, nuisance of parking on outside road of the venue, safety of guests and general public, stop the misuse of scarce resources like water and stop any kind of pollution or degradation of Environment,” the official said. (IANS)