SC is serious enough on tackling pollution: Sunita Narain

New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) head Sunita Narain is of the view that the Supreme Court was serious enough in tackling Delhi’s air pollution and environmental issues.

“I think that the Supreme Court is serious enough,” Narain told IANS, without commenting on the role of the central and Delhi governments.

She was replying to a query on whether the authorities were “serious enough” to tackle Delhi’s air pollution and environmental issues.

Asked how she relates the ongoing drought, heat wave and carbon emission, she said it was more of the “inaction” than some decade-old policy gone wrong.

“It’s the inaction. Drought is happening because we are not doing water management. Heat is happening because nothing was done to control green house emission. So it’s a combination,” she said.

“The country is facing the worse drought ever,” she told the media here.

Addressing a conference here on Thursday, Narain said the odd-even scheme could only be an emergency measure, and called for a permanent solution to improve Delhi’s air quality.

She, however, lauded the odd-even scheme, saying: “Please support action and not inaction.”

Sunita Narain also praised the efforts of the central government which is supposed to introduce the Euro-6 or Bharat-6 standards for fuel and emission in India by 2020.

On what should be done till 2020, she said: “Curb private diesel vehicles, convert two-wheelers into Euro-4, stop trucks, increase public transport to reduce the number of two-wheelers on the streets.”

Currently, India has Euro-4 standard four-wheelers and Euro-3 standard two-wheelers. These are the fuel and emission standards.

According to experts, while Euro-4 standard diesel car emits 0.39 grams of particulate matter per km, Euro-5 emits 0.08, and it further drops with Euro-6.

The second phase of the odd-even scheme from April 15 to 30 was welcomed with apprehensions. However. according to Narain, this is merely an emergency step and not the permanent solution.

“Odd-even is not the permanent solution and can’t be brought on a daily basis,” she said.

She, however, added: “Actions we had taken over time are showing results.”

Narain also spoke against the exemptions to the two-wheelers, adding that more stringent steps, like congestion charges, parking fee and others are needed to bend the pollution curve and ensure clean air targets are met throughout the year.

Rebuffing some of the reports claiming that the pollution level went up in Delhi due to the odd-even scheme, Narain said the forest fires, open burning of garbage were some of the major reasons behind the rise in pollution on certain days.

“After April 26, the air pollution went up. But it was because of crop fires in Punjab and Haryana,” she said, while showing a satellite picture from NASA which depicted massive crop fires in the two states starting April 19.

A CSE statement said: “Odd-even has shown that cutting down vehicle numbers can reduce exposure to toxic pollution and prevent the peaks from getting worse. But emergency action will have to be implemented with permanent measures for sustained gains.”



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