Friday, Oct 31, 2014

Need to include NCR areas in study on air quality: Govt

smog-main Smog is not uncommon in Delhi and NCR. Archive
Written by Pragya Kaushika | New Delhi | Posted: April 22, 2014 1:42 am | Updated: April 22, 2014 1:43 am

The Department of Environment of the Delhi government on Monday wrote to the Ministry of Environment (MoE), requesting it to intervene so NCR regions can be included in a study to measure air quality. The request letter was drafted in response to letter by the Ministry, where it had asked the Delhi government to conduct a study of the air quality in the capital.

Officials of the department said though Delhi has six online and continuous ambient air quality monitoring stations and real time data is available, the efforts do not derive the results that they should.

“Study could be worth it if neighbouring states could join the study and take initiatives to bring down level of air pollution in and around their areas,” the letter drafted by the Department of Environment states.

A senior official said the MoE has been requested to intervene and solicit cooperation to include the NCR areas in study. “The NCR could be involved by augmenting various other studies and mutual exchanges between the NCR areas and Delhi on various fronts — be it traffic pollution or deteriorating air quality,” the official said.

The department believes that it is tough to get the “desired” pure air quality in the capital as Delhi is not a secluded state and there is constant inflow of traffic, especially non-CNG traffic, from all sides.

“We have implemented several measures to ensure that vehicles in the city are mostly CNG-driven. But there are trucks and other vehicles, especially diesel-run vehicles from nearby states entering the capital. We can’t bar their entry. There are factories and other small units on the border that emit smoke. It becomes impossible for us to reach a certain level of air purity without help from neighbouring states. Thus, we have sent a request to the MoE to make them (neighbouring states) work in consensus with us,” the official said.

The MoE has issued directions to various states to prepare an action plan on air quality and report back to the ministry with feedback. Since the capital is without a government at the moment, it is difficult for Delhi government officials to implement the drafted plan on air quality for the capital to implement.

The action plan to deal with the deteriorating air quality is yet to be finalised even after years of being commissioned. Lack of cooperation from other departments is seen as a cause of delay in reaching a consensus to bring out a policy that will improve the air quality.

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