The Commission for Air Quality Management for Delhi and Surrounding Areas (CAQM) has called a meeting of all Chief Ministers of NCR states and even IGs of Punjab and Haryana on Tuesday in connection with the increased severity of air pollution in the region. The Supreme Court on Monday reprimanded the Centre and the states, especially the Delhi government for their failure to reign in air pollution that had reached hazardous levels last week and now hovering on ‘severe’ and ‘very poor’ level.
“CAQM has invited IGs of police from Punjab and Haryana too. The meeting will discuss what all can be done as emergency measures to control air pollution,” said a source.
CAQM is a dedicated Commission – under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) looking at the air quality of Delhi and NCR’s districts of Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh taking an air shed approach (just like watershed, air shed is the geographic area wherein meteorological factors influence the air quality within that area) and therefore, CAQM can and has summoned Punjab too owing to the multiple farm fires from the state lending air pollutants that travel to Delhi.
Said an official from Punjab that there have been 6,600 cases of red entry (entry into revenue records) against the farmers indulging in stubble burning in that state. The Tuesday morning meeting is likely to discuss this issue further, an official said, adding, “There is a need to increase punitive measures in Delhi and other districts of NCR as the share of stubble burning in Delhi’s air pollution, as per SAFAR it was ‘low’ – has gone down substantially.”
The sources that impacted Delhi’s air quality were moderate wind speed and ventilation that is leading to the accumulation of pollutants. The AQI on Monday was ‘very poor’ and is unlikely to improve on Tuesday, SAFAR, a forecasting system under the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, IITM, Pune, said.
“The winds at transport level are increasing, resulting in more intrusion of farm fires related pollutants into Delhi. So the air quality is expected to remain at the higher end of very poor,” the SAFAR forecast said on Monday.
(With inputs from IANS)