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Monday, November 29, 2021

Work from home across NCR: Delhi govt suggestion on pollution

Sources said that the possibility of a weekend lockdown was also discussed but that decision has been left to the Commission for Air Quality Management.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: November 16, 2021 7:23:04 pm
Delhi-NCRDelhi’s air quality slipped back into the ‘severe’ category on Tuesday after two days of experiencing ‘very poor’ air. The AQI level was 403, with PM 2.5 and PM 10 as the primary pollutants. (Express Photo by Gajendra Yadav)

The Delhi government has proposed to the Centre that offices be asked to implement work from home, and construction activity and industries be shut in the entire NCR region to combat air pollution.

Sources said that the possibility of a weekend lockdown was also discussed but that decision has been left to the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM).

Delhi government officials met with their counterparts from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan to discuss ways to bring down pollution levels in the region after the Supreme Court instructed CAQM to bring stakeholders together to manage the situation.

“Yesterday, the Supreme Court had instructed the Commission for Air Quality Management to hold a joint meeting regarding the pollution levels in Delhi. In that regard, the officers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi held a meeting today. In this meeting, on behalf of the people of Delhi, we proposed that work-from-home be implemented, all construction work and industries in the Delhi-NCR region be shut for the meantime. The other states presented their proposals too, we’re awaiting the minutes of the meeting at the moment. We will proceed further after receiving the Commission’s decision. We hope that this meeting will result in a joint action plan for reducing pollution levels,” Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai said Tuesday.

Delhi’s air quality slipped back into the ‘severe’ category on Tuesday after two days of experiencing ‘very poor’ air. The AQI level was 403, with PM 2.5 and PM 10 as the primary pollutants.

According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the contribution of farm fires in the PM 2.5 concentration was 8% on Tuesday, down from 10% on Monday and a peak of 48% on November 7.

This is expected to dip further on Wednesday and Thursday, as winds are blowing from the East, not allowing a significant amount to reach Delhi. Air quality in the city is expected to be in the very poor to severe range on Wednesday as well.

A study submitted to the Supreme Court by the Centre on Monday had stated that the contribution of farm fired to PM 2.5 was around 4%. The minutes of the meeting of CAQM held on Sunday state that the contribution was 35% to 40%.

Rai said the Centre should clarify why these two “conflicting facts” were presented. “I am shocked that the Centre has said that the contribution of stubble in pollution is 4% on one page and 35 to 40 % on another in its submission. It is essential for the Centre to clarify as different strategies are needed to deal with both the situations and data must be taken seriously. Either 4 is the correct statistic or 40 is. The Union Environment Minister should clarify so that the right strategy can be made regarding pollution and we can together find an immediate and a permanent solution to it,” Rai said.

Delhi has already shut schools for a week and stopped construction and demolition activity as emergency measures.

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