Former scientist at the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) J K Moitra on Tuesday criticised Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) Chief Bhure Lal’s statement, suggesting a ban on all private vehicles in Delhi, calling it a “knee-jerk reaction”.
Speaking at JNU, Moitra said there was enough data available with scientists to know what could bring down pollution in the city, but that there was a problem at the level of “implementation”. S K Gupta, Secretary of the Indian Association for Air Pollution Control (IAAPC), also said the issue was not being solved due to “lack of political will”.
Talking at a seminar on Combating Air Pollution & Health Hazards organised by the Alumni Association of JNU, Moitra talked about the implementation of the Bharat Stage Emissions Standards — instituted by the Government of India to regulate the output of air pollutants from motor vehicles.
“We tried to implement Bharat stage 1, 2, 3, etc. The policy was there, but implementation was very difficult because we have Ministry of Environment & Forests, CPCB, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, and the Ministry of Surface Transport. With so many organisations, it was very difficult to implement what we thought would help the environment,” he said.
“In April 2018, we wanted to implement Bharat Stage 6 norms… if they were introduced, air pollution would have reduced significantly. But we were unable to do so as the petroleum ministry was not geared up to supply that kind of fuel. We have data to suggest what should be done to bring down air pollution, but the policy and implementation part is getting difficult,” added Moitra.
Hitting out at Lal, he said, “Two-three days ago, Bhure Lal suddenly said he wanted to stop all vehicles — petrol and diesel vehicles — from moving in Delhi. This kind of a knee-jerk reaction, as a scientist, we cannot put forth to the community because community is looking towards scientists for solutions.”
Gupta referred to the Air Pollution Act of 1981 and the Environmental Protection Act of 1986 and said the idea that industries which do not meet emission standards would not be given licences was not being implemented. “ There is a lack of political will and in the tussle between economic development and quality of life, the latter has been pushed into the background,” he said.