India is tackling the problem of environmental pollution from all fronts, including limiting smoke levels from vehicles, burning of dead wood and stubble by farmers and through alternative energy programmes, minister for environment and forests Prakash Javadekar said today.
Citing the example of the National Capital Region, the minister said efforts of the Central Pollution Control Board have resulted in more 'good days' in terms of environment in Delhi and its surrounding regions.
Speaking at a press conference in New Delhi today, the environment minister said that a high level meeting of the five states to address the problem of air pollution in Delhi, due to stubble burning will be held soon. To control stubble burning, the government has given more than 20 thousand machines to farmers in Punjab and Haryana at a cost of about Rs1,150 crore, the minister said.
“Recognition of existence of a problem is beginning of solution of the problem. The pollution problem of Delhi-NCR started aggravating since 2006 and was not recognized till 2014. In 2015, under the supervision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Air Quality Index (AQI) was launched. Today, 113 AQI monitoring stations are present in Delhi-NCR and 29 more are to be installed soon,” Javadekar said.
He said 46 teams of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) are engaged in taking stock of pollution levels in Delhi-NCR.
"From today onwards, 46 teams of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) are taking stock of pollution levels in Delhi-NCR and will take appropriate action wherever needed”.
The minister highlighted that out of 273 days till 30 September in 2019, number of ‘Good’, ‘Satisfactory’ and ‘Moderate’ days were 165 as against 104 in 2016.
The minister said Bharat Stage Six (BS VI), is a revolutionary step in the transformation of fuels, adding that there has been an 80 per cent reduction in particulate matter emissions and 30 per cent reduction in Nitrogen Oxides emissions in BS IV heavy duty diesel vehicles compared with BS III norms.
Nearly Rs60,000 crore were spent on switching over to BS VI fuels. “The country will shift to BS VI vehicular emission norms from BS IV by April 2020. BS VI petrol/diesel is already available in Delhi/NCR”, Javadekar pointed out.
Terming the launch of green fire crackers with green logo and QR coding system on Saturday, a historic initiative, the minister advised not to burst crackers this Diwali. However, if one chooses to, then opt for the green crackers which is aimed at reducing pollution and health risks, Javadekar said.
The Minster highlighted that the creation of Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways, completed at cost of about Rs17000 crore, has now led to 40,000 goods vehicles, which are not destined for Delhi, to be diverted away from national capital, leading to a great positive impact on pollution.
Talking of initiatives relating to e-mobility and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation network, Javadekar said, 377 km of metro lines with 274 stations, is catering to more than 3 million passengers daily in an environment friendly manner. He termed it has one of the best systems of public transport in the world because of which more than 4 lakh vehicles are taken off the roads, thereby, reducing pollution.
The minister called upon states to work unitedly in curbing pollution. It was informed that Delhi alone gets 52MW energy from solid waste management and waste compost plant is operational. The closure of Badarpur Thermal Plant, banning of pet coke and conversion of 2,789 brick kilns in NCR to Zig-Zag technology has also led to reduction of pollution.
Underlining the various actions undertaken by the government to control road and construction and demolition (C&D) dust, the minister said emulating the best dust management practices from Delhi Metro has led to pollution reduction and presently there is nearly 5 lakh tonnes waste, which is being processed as recycled aggregate/brick base.