The issue of Delhi’s air pollution problem cannot be resolved by science and technology alone, but also by timely policy and political interventions, said M Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Science (MoES) at the virtual curtain-raiser event on Friday, ahead of the 6th India International Science Festival (IISF). MoES, Department of Science and Technology, Council of Industrial and Scientific Research, Department of Biotechnology and Vijnana Bharathi are jointly organising the event scheduled to be held online between December 22 and 25.
Delhi’s poor air quality is a perennial problem and the weather during the winter along with polluting sources aggravate this problem, said Rajeevan. “ Air pollution is a serious issue. MoES along with other S&T ministries are working to address the matter. Not only does it affect people’s lives, but it also hampers agriculture productivity and other sectors,” said Rajeevan, while addressing the virtual event organised by Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM). Giving examples of other countries, he said it took nearly 15 years to improve the air quality in Beijing, China. Rajeevan said India also is undertaking all efforts to improve the air quality, including issuing advance warnings ahead of deteriorating air quality in major Indian cities through its System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting Research (SAFAR) programme.
The theme for this year’s festival is ‘Science for Self-Reliant India and Global Welfare’. Stressing on India’s role in the near future, Rajeevan said, “India can take up the role as a leader in science and technology. Though we have been helping our neighbouring countries, we can strive for more.”
The Mahabaleshwar-based High Altitude Cloud Physics Laboratory, operated by IITM, will play a decisive role in understanding the changing dynamics of cloud formation in future, the senior meteorologist said. “Understanding of clouds remains cloudy in itself. We still do not know well about clouds and how they would behave due to climate change. They could form either as low or high clouds, and such changes need to be factored in while making weather predictions in future,” he said.