Skip to main content

India's air pollution problem is "being discussed in post-Diwali Delhi terms", lacks perspective: Greenpeace

By Our Representative
Top international NGO Greenpeace has said that there is a need for an urgent nation-wide, systemic solution for pollution crisis response, and the Delhi government's announcement of “emergency measures” to help citizens cope with the public health crisis of hazardous air pollution levels lack a national perspective.
Insisting on the need for ‘Clean Air Nation’ campaign, the statement says, there is a need for a “stronger National Air Quality Index (NAQI), including health advisories and alert system for closure of polluting sources and industries to be triggered automatically. ”
It adds, a “National Clean Air action plan should including all the sources of pollution i.e., biomass burning, industry, thermal power plants, transports, construction and demolition activities and fugitive dust emissions etc.”
Seeking to “set targets for reducing interstate pollution, including a compliance plan for meeting the new thermal power plant emission standards ”, Greenpeace says, there should be a “deadline for meeting the national air quality standards, e.g. 5-year interim targets, for reducing pollution levels in each state and city.”
“The measures announced by the Delhi government may bring some relief to some citizens, but this is frankly too little too late, and fails to address the problem in its entirety,” says Sunil Dahiya, Greenpeace India campaigner.
“An effective NAQI would automatically trigger the issuing of a health advisory and the resultant closure of schools and offices etc., instead of these measures only being announced after a series of consultations and cabinet meetings”, Dahiya underlines.
“Even now, the problem is really only being discussed in post-Diwali Delhi terms”, Dahiya regrets, adding, “The levels may have peaked this week, but they have been consistently high for months now. And although shutting down the Badarpur Thermal Power Plant is a welcome first move, how about applying the same logic to the other plants, and the pollution affecting the rest of the Indo-Gangetic Plain region?”
Meanwhile, a report submitted to the Supreme court on short-term emergency action and strict enforcement for effective control of toxic and dangerous air pollution by Delhi-based Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority for National Capital Region (EPCA) has urged the government to treat the current smog episode “as a public health emergency.”
EPCA says, “The levels of PM2.5 have increased by 1.4 times on November 5, 2016 as compared to Diwali. It is 14 times the standard on November 5, 2016. The smog in the national capital is worse than the London smog incident in 1952-53.”
It adds, “Extremely high pollution in Delhi is a combination of huge numbers of vehicles, unchecked construction and road dust, garbage burning, Diwali crackers, burning of paddy residue by farmers in Punjab and Haryana and a near still weather conditions with very low wind speed.”
Seeking “strict enforcement” of Environment Compensation Charge (ECC) on Delhi-bound trucks in order to put a check on numbers, the report says, there should also be “strict enforcement” of “control of dust pollution from construction activities and road through vacuum cleaning”, of “ban on garbage burning and urgent action to control pollution from thermal power plant in Delhi and its vicinity by shutting down plants during winter months.”
Then, it says, there should be “urgent action to reduce pollution from fly ash dumps in thermal power plants”, with “strict action from Punjab and Haryana to curb biomass burning through enforcement”, even as insisting on the need to “provide farmers with alternatives to use paddy straw for energy and for tilling into ground for manure.”

Comments

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

Dalits rights meet planned on how citizenship law 'negates' Ambedkar's equality focus

By Our Representative
A Dalit rights meet has been planned at the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), Sanand, Ahmedabad district, to discuss implications of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed by Parliament on December 10-11, for Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized sections. Announcing the decision, DSK director Martin Macwan said, the meet would take place on December 25, 2019, at 11.00 am, to commemorate the anniversary of burning of copies of Manusmriti by Dr BR Ambedkar.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.