POISON IN THE AIR
DELHI and its satellite cities are once again facing the menace of air pollution. The conditions have gone from poor to hazardous as Punjab and Haryana record higher stubble burning incidents this season as compared to last year. In the first two weeks of October 2020, Delhi’s air quality index (AQI) was worse than in the same period in 2018 and 2019,according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
Several factors lead to a drop in air quality—transport emissions, biomass and waste burning, dust, industries and power plants. Of these, stubble burning in neighbouring states, including Pun jab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, is considered to be the major reason for hazy skies during winter in Delhi.
Apart from the aforesaid factors, there is one more reason for the present situation and that is lack of centre-state coordination. The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, in its research based on data for 2018 and 2019, has found that Delhi’s pollution is localised and not caused by farm fires. It said that the AQI for Punjab is much better than in Delhi.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh pointed out that this is something the state had been maintaining for the past several years. Singh reportedly said: “It was obvious that Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, who had been blaming Pun jab’s farm fires for the poor AQI levels in the national capital for the past several years, was taking refuge in brazen falsehoods to divert public attention from the AAP government’s total failure to control the environmental situation in Delhi.”
Kejriwal, on the other hand, blamed the centre and the Haryana and Punjab governments for the severe air pollution, alleging that they had failed to do anything despite the all-out efforts by the AAP government. “The pollution was in control in Delhi throughout the year, but this time (winters) every year, Delhi has to face severe pollution due to the centre, BJP-led Haryana and Congress-led Punjab governments. Despite our all-out efforts, they are not ready to do anything. Farmers of these two states are also fed up with their governments,” Kejriwal had tweeted on October 19.
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