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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Revising vacation, N95 masks for kids: Suggestions to panel on pollution control

Last month, the commission had invited suggestions from the public and experts on a "permanent solution for air pollution in Delhi-NCR."

Written by Abhinaya Harigovind | New Delhi |
January 11, 2022 2:32:57 am
The communication, signed by 110 parents, also suggests that specific scientifically proven measures be considered for schools, such as providing N95 masks to reduce exposure.

The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has constituted a group of experts which will examine suggestions it has received on curbing air pollution.

Last month, the commission had invited suggestions from the public and experts on a “permanent solution for air pollution in Delhi-NCR.”

This was done on the basis of a Supreme Court order which directed the CAQM to invite suggestions with the aim of finding a permanent solution. The commission had provided 14 days for submission of suggestions. The nine-member expert group will be headed by the chairman of the Haryana State Pollution Control Board. The group includes Mukesh Sharma, professor at IIT-Kanpur; Sachin Ghude, scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology; Anumita Roychowdhury at the Centre for Science and Environment; and Prashant Gargava, Member Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board. The group will be required to examine the suggestions received, recommend measures for “formulating a permanent solution for the air pollution menace,” and suggest a “policy” to curb air pollution. It is required to submit its report within two months.

Among those who sent suggestions is a group of parents of school-going children in the NCR. The communication sent by the parents to the CAQM earlier this week includes a suggestion to reorganise the school vacation. “The CAQM, in consultation with state governments, should evaluate reorganisation of annual school vacations such that the worst pollution period in Delhi-NCR is treated as school vacation. This will ensure that children do not suffer from learning loss on account of school closures,” the letter stated.

The communication, signed by 110 parents, also suggests that specific scientifically proven measures be considered for schools, such as providing N95 masks to reduce exposure.

Another set of suggestions was sent by the Clean Air Collective, a network of organisations and individuals across the country who work on air pollution issue. Suggestions include revising the Graded Response Action Plan before peak pollution season in 2022, using the Early Warning Forecasting System proactively to reduce emissions, strengthening agencies like the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, and making all buses in NCR districts run on CNG.

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