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Farm fires add to pollution but other sources have higher impact, contends EPCA chief

November 13, 2019 06:07 AM


New Delhi : New pollution hotspots are emerging in the national capital, even as the 13 identified spots need to be fixed, chief of Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), Bhure Lal, said Tuesday.

Speaking to Hindustan Times on Tuesday, Lal said that apart from the 13 existing hotspots, a pollution spike was observed in a number of other areas in the last few weeks. He said vehicular congestion and unauthorised parking in these areas have been contributing to bad air quality.

“We have been identifying new points where polluting activities have been going on unabated. Slow-moving traffic at many stretches, most of which are unpaved, has been adding to both PM 2.5 and PM 10 concentrations. Besides, illegal parking near a number of motels and banquet halls has been adding to congestion,” said Lal, who has been carrying out daily inspections across the city.

Some of these, including Tughlaqabad container depot road, Gandhi Nagar in east Delhi and Peeragarhi Chowk, get heavy traffic through the day. With the movement of vehicles, dust from unpaved roads is relaunched in the air, the Epca chief added.

When asked if smoke from stubble burning in neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab was contributing to pollution in Delhi, he said, “It does have an effect, however, its share in comparison to local sources of pollution is much less. Also, the government has already taken initiatives in these states to curb stubble burning.”

According to a report recently submitted by EPCA in the apex court, local sources of emissions such as vehicular congestion, fumes from industries and dust from construction sites are some of the major factors contributing to overall pollution load.

The report also included urging neighbouring states to take steps to check stubble burning.

Following the report, the Supreme Court had ordered a complete prohibition on stubble burning. Also, it had asked the Delhi government to clear pollution hotspots at the earliest and take “stringent action” on polluting activities such as burning of waste and dust emissions from construction sites.

“All measures under the “severe” category of the Graded Response Action Plan (Grap_ are already in force. While all government agencies are cracking down on pollution activities, the biggest problem in Delhi is the unchecked dumping of waste and construction debris. All this waste, including rubber, plastic and other hazardous materials, is dumped and ultimately burnt,” said Epca chief Lal.

Also, Delhi’s satallite towns, he added, need to clamp down better on polluting activities, such as toxic emissions from industries, to curb high pollution levels and their impact on Delhi.


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