In what could become the latest flashpoint between the Centre and the Delhi government, Union Environment Minister A M Dave Monday said Delhi was responsible for 80 per cent of the pollution in the city. He was speaking after a meeting with environment ministers of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
“Stubble burning is 20 per cent of the problem. Delhi’s responsibility is 80 per cent. Burning of petrol, diesel, coal, wood, dry leaves and of garbage at a waste disposal ground led to pollution in Delhi. Burning of crackers can be added to that list as well,” Dave said.
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“I always make an attempt to put an end to blame game. Sensationalism and blame game have become a strategy. People get affected by this. They are having trouble breathing. Deal with that first. I want that the states carry out their responsibilities,” he said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has blamed crop stubble burning in Haryana and Punjab for the high particulate matter in the city.
“Delhi has its set of sources of pollution such as road dust, vehicular pollution and open burning but these existed even a month ago. According to our assessment, the pollution and smoke are coming in a large quantity from neighbouring states because of crop stubble burning,” Kejriwal had said.
Speaking to PTI, Punjab Agriculture Minister Tota Singh, too, blamed Delhi for the problem, saying, “This is aimed at tarnishing the image of Punjab and Haryana. We have statistics to prove that the situation in Delhi is its own doing. Pollution in Delhi affects other states. Crop burning is not a reason at all.”
But Delhi government officials maintained there was enough evidence to show that its neighbouring states were responsible for pollution in the capital.
“Delhi has its own problems and needs to tackle those, but to say that crop stubble burning is not a big factor is wrong. This issue should not be politicised. We need cooperation from the Centre and states to fight pollution,” said a Delhi environment department official.
The Delhi government also demanded that the Centre conduct a fresh study to find out sources of emission and their respective share in polluting the capital’s air.
Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain wrote to Dave, urging him to instruct the Central Pollution Control Board to undertake a scientific investigation into the issue.