For a healthy air

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/1/2019 12:19:38 PM IST

 What India’s capital New Delhi and also neighbouring Haryana are presently experiencing is deteriorating air quality which began a steep dip after Diwali celebrations and further deteriorated gradually due to stubble burning in parts of Punjab and Haryana despite a ban. The air quality in Delhi, as per the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), showed that the overall air quality in deteriorated to 425, which falls under “severe” category. As every visitor and denizens of Delhi know is that the city will remain blanketed under the pungent haze smog for days and could even extend through November. The debate on who is responsible for not being able to reduce or prevent smog over Delhi continue but the blame game will not help in containing the problem. The dip in mercury along with dip in air quality brings a thick blanket of smog over the city which poses serious threat on the health of the people. Delhi has its own fossil fuel vehicles totalling a little over one crore and this also a major cause for the air pollution. A report by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, has estimated that vehicle emissions contributes over 40% of pollution and which is a significant proportion. It would be necessary to reduce number of vehicles and aggressively promote public transportation. The government should encourage CNG as a fuel for private vehicles. Most of public transport buses in the capital already use CNG as primary fuel. The government has announced an ambitious target for all new vehicles in 2030 to be electric, starting with taxis, e-rickshaws and buses and, eventually, private vehicles. Delhi is ever hungry for power and there are 13 large coal fired thermal plants with a combined capacity of 11,000 MW. It is a known fact that coal fired power plants generate significant pollutants in the air which are extremely harmful for atmospheric air pollution. While the Badarpur coal fired power plant in Delhi has now been shut down permanently, unfortunately the demand has led to new ones are being planned. The motivations are to reduce vehicular emissions, improve air quality and reduce dependence on foreign oil, all perfectly reasonable. However, the scheme avoids asking how cities will negotiate the rise in vehicles with the implications on other urban objectives - such as exacerbated congestion and the need for an increased share of public transit. Stubble burning by farmers in Punjab, Haryana and UP have are also major contributors to the haze over north India especially Delhi. Government agencies should provide shredder machines free of cost rather than just providing subsidy. Also, farmers should be educated and made aware of the harmful effects of crop burning. Being one of the fastest growing megpolis in India, construction and demolition activities in Delhi is a key factor that also contribute to air pollution. Construction firms could be asked to use waste water to be sprinkled on construction sites so that pollutants emanating from these sites can be controlled. Besides posing grave health hazards, air pollution also contributes to greenhouse gas effect, global warming and affecting climate change. There is need to look at the problem from a wider angle where all government planning specify certain requirements that would make it mandatory for every state to include protection of environment as a key policy. 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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