Reprimanding the Centre and the state government for not initiating proper measures to mitigate the deteriorating air quality of the national capital, Delhi Congress chief spokesperson Sharmishtha Mukherjee on Friday said that the central government should arrest pollution instead of Rahul Gandhi. “The Central government instead of arresting Rahul Gandhi should be concerned with arresting pollution,” said Mukherjee, referring to the earlier detention of the Congress vice president in the One Rank One Pension (OROP) case.
“The Delhi pollution situation is an emergency situation. There is international norm that whenever Air Quality Index reached 300 for two consecutive days, there should be an immediate red alert announced. But, here in this week we have seen that it has crossed 300 for more than four days. At some places, it touched 1500. But, yet the government is not doing anything. Both the central government and the state government in their usual pattern are busy playing blame games,” she said.
Mukherjee was of the opinion that the people of Delhi are almost like under a death sentence, therefore the situation entails emergency measures. While speaking about the measures she said schools and colleges should be closed, the public transport system should be improved and augmented, construction activities stopped and proper sprinkling done to curb down the dust pollution.
“But the Delhi government and the central government do not have any road map and they just keep on promising that there will be an action plan. Why NGT should take a suo motu action? Isn’t the Delhi government aware of the fact that every year in Delhi there is this kind of problem?” she further enquired. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday will hear a case related to the deteriorating quality of air in Delhi which has been designated as being in the “severe” category post Diwali.
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Taking suo motu cognisance of the matter, the tribunal on Thursday had directed Delhi Chief Secretary K.K. Sharma to hold a meeting urgently with all the concerned authorities. The chief secretary was told to file a status report by today.
NGT’s directive came while hearing a case related to the rising menace of Chikungunya and Dengue. During the hearing the Delhi government and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) had argued that the presence of mosquitoes declined drastically after Diwali.
“Have you done anything to prevent children from going to school, did you give advisory to public. The people have the right to breathe fresh air,” the tribunal observed while reprimanding the Delhi Government over its lacklustre response towards tackling air pollution. For the past three days, Delhiites have been inhaling copious amounts of particulate matter (PM) – both 2.5 micrometers and 10 micrometers – composed of dust, dirt, smoke, chemicals, etc., a deadly combination which enters the blood stream through one’s lungs and causes cancer.
As per System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), levels of Particulate Matter (PM) 10 levels reached a record 500 mark on Wednesday. The city witnessed low visibility and smog throughout Wednesday evening and night. The reasons for this are a drop in wind speed and rise in humidity in the atmosphere. Such severe pollution levels can cause breathing problems, lung and heart diseases among many other ailments.