Annual pollution concentration in Delhi needs to be reduced by 58%: CSE

Annual concentration of pollution in Delhi still needs to be reduced by 58 per cent to meet the cleanliness standard, Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director (Research and Advocacy) at the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said on Wednesday.

“Delhi still needs to reduce its annual particulate pollution by another 58 per cent to be able to meet the cleanliness standard. During winter, the pollution build up happens even more due to numerous factors, but you still need round-the-year action to bring down the overall pollution level in the city,” Roychowdhury told IANS.

“It is the scale of action and stringency of the enforcement which will be important during winter,” she added.

The pollution level in Delhi, which starts rising as the winter season approaches, is attributed to stubble burning in the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, while announcing a 10-point Winter Action Plan earlier this month, had said that before October 4, the levels of pollution in Delhi were under control.

In the past few months, Delhi government has held several meetings and taken a slew of measures, mostly preventive, to tackle the pollution problem in the national capital. Some of these include installation of smog tower to clean the air in its 1 km radius, introducing 14-point anti-dust guidelines to control pollution from construction and demolition sites, launching the Green Delhi App and Green War Room to identify pollution hotspots and setting up teams for monitoring the pollution emitting activities in the capital.

On the steps taken by Delhi government, Roychowdhury said, “Short-term measures need not to be more stringent and more comprehensive to be able to control the smog episode. Having said that, we still need much deeper action around the year to bring down the overall pollution level in the city, so that pollution trapping can be prevented during winter. While Delhi government has touched upon several issues, a key focus area has to be complete prevention of waste burning. It is not enough to say that we will penalise the violators.

“Some of the critical areas of intervention are to see that all the municipalities in Delhi develop proper infrastructure for waste segregation and composting. Delhi government needs to ensure that there is no entry of dirty fuel in any industrial unit, along with a more robust strategy to reduce vehicle numbers on the road. And for all of this to happen, we require both systematic changes and many short-term enforcements.”