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Took new measures against Delhi air pollution: Minister

Harsh Vardhan said that during the peak of Delhi's air pollution crisis after November 8 this year, the extra effluents from the Gulf and neighbouring states were the major cause.

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Delhi's air quality drastically dipped during Diwali. Wikimedia Commons
Delhi's air quality drastically dipped during Diwali. Wikimedia Commons

New Delhi, Dec 28: Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said dust coming in from the Gulf and stubble burning were the major reasons behind an air pollution crisis here in November, adding that his Ministry took a slew of precautionary measures that have never been taken before.

The Environment Ministry was trying to initiate a movement of awareness against pollution, Harsh Vardhan told the Rajya Sabha amid disruptions by various members, including former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.

During the discussion, members raised concerns about the deteriorating air quality of Delhi and asked the government to take effective steps to control the pollution.

The short-duration discussion titled “excessively high levels of air pollution in Delhi”, drew criticism from some members of the Upper House, who pointed out that the measures being flaunted by the Minister were very basic and general in nature.

“What we are doing today has never been done in the past… We are trying to initiate a movement against pollution, If they (other members) will not be receptive about it, who will?,” the Minister asked.

Jairam Ramesh was quick to point out that the Minister was wasting the House’s time by saying things like encouraging people to use public transport.

Harsh Vardhan said that during the peak of Delhi’s air pollution crisis after November 8 this year, the extra effluents from the Gulf and neighbouring states were the major cause.

Stubble burning is one of the main reason behind heavy pollution in the Delhi and NCR region. Wikimedia Commons
Stubble burning is one of the main reason behind heavy pollution in the Delhi and NCR region. Wikimedia Commons

Between November 7 and 16, the national capital and surrounding regions choked on “severe plus or emergency” level of air quality with environment bodies imposing emergency level restrictions on polluting activities like construction, industry and truck movement. The schools across National Capital Regions were also shut for the duration.

“During peak, dust storm from the Gulf contributed to 40 per cent of pollution, stubble burning in neighbouring states were responsible for 25 per cent pollution, while the local effluents had only 35 per cent contribution,” the minister said.

He also pointed out that the pollutant level this Diwali dropped as compared to last year.

“Our Ministry, two-three months prior to Diwali, initiated a movement for Harit or Green Diwali… I personally sent mail to over two lakh schools and institutions,” the Minister said. IANS

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Experts Around Globe Share Ways To Combat Air Pollution

"India needs to initiate and implement strategies to tackle the deadly air pollution. The need is to adopt an integrated approach with solutions that provide real impact." Pixabay

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The three-day workshop, organised by the North India Office of the US Embassy in collaboration with not-for-profit RTI International, is aimed at sharing the US best practices in combating air pollution to reduce emissions of fine-particulate matter and other pollutants in North India. Pixabay

Indian and American experts will chalk out strategies to combat air pollution caused by crop burning, vehicular emission and construction dust at a workshop that began, here on Thursday.

The three-day workshop, organised by the North India Office of the US Embassy in collaboration with not-for-profit RTI International, is aimed at sharing the US best practices in combating air pollution to reduce emissions of fine-particulate matter and other pollutants in North India.

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“Based on the 2016 Global Burden of Disease estimates, about 1.6 million deaths per year in India have been attributed to air pollution,” the release quoted him as saying. Pixabay

It will focus on strategies to minimise emissions, behavioural changes for accepting new alternatives, adoption of tools for estimation of emissions and air quality impacts, enhancing involvement of the private sector and the public as part of the change and developing an integrated regulatory approach.

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“India needs to initiate and implement strategies to tackle the deadly air pollution. The need is to adopt an integrated approach with solutions that provide real impact.” Pixabay

Prakash Doraiswamy, Principal Air Quality Scientist at RTI International, said several north Indian cities rank among the top 25 cities in the world with fine particle (PM 2.5) concentrations 10-17 times higher than World Health Organisation’s guidelines, as per the World Global Ambient Air Quality Database (2018).

Also Read: Global Market For Refurbished Smartphones At A Hike

“Based on the 2016 Global Burden of Disease estimates, about 1.6 million deaths per year in India have been attributed to air pollution,” the release quoted him as saying.

“India needs to initiate and implement strategies to tackle the deadly air pollution. The need is to adopt an integrated approach with solutions that provide real impact,” he said.  (IANS)