In a significant move to combat the escalating air pollution in the national capital, the Delhi government, led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, has announced the commencement of an anti-open burning campaign starting tomorrow. This initiative, spearheaded by Environment Minister Gopal Rai, will run until December 14, as the city grapples with deteriorating air quality.
To ensure stringent monitoring, the government has deployed a massive force of 611 teams who will keep a vigilant eye on open burning incidents across the city, operating 24×7. Minister Rai emphasized the importance of this campaign in curbing pollution sources and maintaining the city’s air quality.
Concurrently, the anti-dust campaign, which has been in effect, will continue its operations until November 30. This campaign has seen the deployment of 591 teams who have already inspected around 20,000 sites, leading to the issuance of fines totaling ₹2.47 crore for violations.
In addition to these measures, the stringent restrictions of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) Level 4 will remain enforced. The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) will provide further directives on these restrictions.
Minister Rai, after a review meeting with officials from the Environment Department and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), instructed an intensification of water spraying efforts to settle dust particles, a major contributor to the city’s pollution.
Addressing the media post-meeting, Rai praised the citizens of Delhi for their compliance with the Supreme Court’s directives during Diwali, noting their adherence to the ban on firecrackers. However, he also pointed out the need for neighboring states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to more rigorously enforce similar bans, citing a significant increase in pollution levels in Delhi attributable to activities in these states.
Looking ahead, the minister shared concerns about the anticipated rise in pollution levels, attributing it to forecasted lower wind speeds that could lead to increased ground-level concentration of pollutants. Consequently, the GRAP-4 restrictions will continue to be in effect until the CAQM issues new orders.
Lastly, addressing the potential implementation of the odd-even traffic management plan, Rai stated that the government would consider this measure if pollution levels escalate to the ‘severe plus’ category. This step would be part of a broader strategy to tackle the growing air quality crisis in the city.
The Delhi government remains committed to taking all necessary steps to ensure a cleaner, healthier environment for its residents, even as it navigates the complex challenge of air pollution.