Reported By:| Edited By: |Source: |Updated: Nov 02, 2022, 06:07 PM IST
With Delhi’s air quality worsening amid calmer winds and raging farm fires in Punjab and Haryana, the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government has now held “people” of the national capital responsible for the increasing levels of pollution.
Addressing mediapersons here, Gopal Rai said: “Firstly, if you see construction work is underway, send the picture to the Green App. Secondly, use the car or bike pooling. Thirdly, if possible, do work from home. Don`t use the coal and wood for burning. And lastly, RWA should provide heater to the security guards to avoid using wood for heat during the winter,” Gopal Rai said.
Meanwhile, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has asked the Delhi government to shut schools till air quality in the national capital improves.
The national capital’s air quality has deteriorated to ‘severe’ in the last few days, according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data. In some areas, it has in fact dipped to ‘hazardous’ category in some areas. The AQI at Delhi’s Anand Vihar stood at 454 at 5 pm on Wednesday.
An AQI above 400 is considered “severe” and can affect healthy people and seriously impact those with existing illnesses. According to the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC)’s Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) released in June, residents of Delhi stand to lose 10 years of life expectancy due to poor air quality.
While the problem has been persistent for Delhi over the years, the Kejriwal government had been since last year blaming the smoke from stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana behind the rising level of pollution the national capital.
But this time, since his party is is power in Punjab, the Delhi government has been abstaining from mentioning the contribution of farm fires to the worsening air quality in the capital.
In fact, Punjab Agriculture Minister Kuldeep Dhaliwal told News18 that his state cannot be blamed for the pollution in the national capital.
“Punjab stubble is not the cause of pollution in Delhi. Rohtak, Panipat, Sonepat are the ones contributing to Delhi’s pollution. How can Punjab’s pollution reach Delhi? How can Amritsar’s, and not Panipat’s smoke, reach Delhi,” News18 quoted him as asking.
The minister’s claim came even as NASA’s satellite images showed a dense cluster of red dots denoting farm fires in Punjab and parts of Haryana, and a layer of smoke blanketing huge swathes of the Indo-Gangetic plains — from east Pakistan to east Uttar Pradesh.