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

It's now official: Developed Gujarat's regular, casual workers earn less than 19 top states

By Rajiv Shah
Though not as low as state chief minister Vijay Rupani claims it to be (0.9%), Gujarat’s unemployment rate, at least as reflected in a recent report released by the Government of India, is 4.8%, lower than the national average, 6%. Yet, ironically, the same report, released soon after the Lok Sabha polls came to an end in May 2019, brings to light an even grimmer reality: Lower wages in "model" and "developed" Gujarat compared to virtually the whole of India, including the so-called Bimaru states.

Amaravati: World Bank refusing to share public grievances on Land Pooling Scheme

By Our Representative
A new report, prepared by the advocacy group Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), New Delhi, has taken strong exception to the World Bank refusing to share its independent assessment of the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), floated by the Andhra Pradesh government in order to build the new capital.

Why crib? 4.5% is far better than pre-1980 'Hindu rate of growth': Subramanian replies

By Rajiv Shah
Even as sticking to his original argument that India's gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 has been overestimated by 2.5%, renowned economist Arvind Subramanian has said in a fresh paper that his estimate of post-2011-12 growth rate at around 4.5% is surely not "implausibly low", as some of his critics have been arguing following his controversial June paper.

UP's Sonbhadra killing of 10 tribals highlights 'failure' to implement Forest Rights Act

Counterview Desk
On July 17, as many as 10 people, including three women, were killed and 28 injured when a village head and his supporters opened fire on a group of tribal farmers in Ubha village of Sonbhadra district in Uttar Pradesh. While the firing took place following a clash between over a land ownership dispute, it reportedly highlights failure of officials enforce Forest Rights Acts (FRA) and Survey Settlement in favour of tribals.

Govt of India 'lying': MGNREGA budget reduced by Rs 1,084 crore in 2019-20

Counterview Desk
NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, a well-known advocacy group for the rural jobs guarantee scheme, under implementation since 2005, has said that the statement by the Rural Development Minister has a made a mockery of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) on the floor of Parliament, revealing the ruling BJP’s “anti-worker and anti-poor bias”.

Govt of India seeks to 'subvert' autonomy of adjudicating authorities: RTI amendment

Counterview Desk
India's independent Right to Information watchdog, The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI), in a statement, has said that the Government of India’s proposed amendments to the RTI Act to empower the Centre to unilaterally decide the tenure, salary, allowances and other terms of service of Information Commissioners at the Centre and States “seriously undermine” the law.

None of India's ministries, departments have mining children on the radar: MPs told

By Our Representative
A delegation of two civil rights groups, Samata and mines, minerals and People (mm&P), has impressed upon several of India's members of Parliament (MPs) to discuss and raise issues relating to illegal mining, the Samata judgment, children in the mining areas and the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) in Parliament, adding, the issue of involvement of gram sabhas in decision making ought to be central for allowing any new projects in forest areas.

22,000 children risking lives in India's 'illegal' mica mines, 10-20 die each month

By Rajiv Shah
An investigation by a high-profile e-journal run by a top American digital media and entertainment company focused on young women, Refinery 29 (R29), which based in the Financial District, Manhattan neighbourhood of New York City, has raised the alarm that 9,000 miles away, nearly 22,000 children are risking their lives while working for a paltry sum of Rs 20 to 30 per day in mica mines of Jharkhand and Bihar.

Demand to withdraw sedition charge against 30,000 unnamed Adivasis, activists

Counterview Desk
Every 10th Adivasi of Jharkhand’s Pathalgadi area is charged with sedition, Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM), a network of activists and people’s organisations, which organised a protest in Ranchi in front of the Governor's house, has said. In a statement following the protest on Monday, JMM has called for larger support to stand up against violations of Constitutional rights of Adivasis and use of sedition law as tool for repression.

Introduced in Lok Sabha, amendment proposals a 'blow' to RTI's federal scheme

By Venkatesh Nayak*
In less than two months of returning to power, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA-III) government has revived its 2018 proposal to curtail the autonomy of the Information Commissions established under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act). A similar attempt was made exactly one year ago but the Bill to assume power to regulate the tenure, salaries and allowances of Information Commissioners across the country was not tabled in Parliament.