07 October 2019
New Delhi: Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday listed several steps taken by the Centre which he said has substantially increased the number of 'good air' days in the Delhi-NCR region.
The minister's assertion comes at a time when Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has taken out huge advertisements to take credit for improvement in Delhi's air quality.
He said he would not like to comment on Delhi government taking credit.
Upto September 30 this year, out of 273 days, as many as 165 have been good, satisfactory and moderate days against 104 in 2016 and number of poor, very poor and severe days was 108 against 159 in 2018.
On the Aarey judgement, the minister said the Supreme Court has given its judgement on Monday and he will not discuss it.
Javadekar said the policy on afforestation is to plant five trees for every tree cut. He said the policy has yielded results as India's green cover has increased by 15,000 sq kms.
Listing a number of steps taken by the Centre since 2015 to combat air pollution in Delhi-NCR, Javadekar said there has been 80 per cent reduction in particulate matter emissions and 30 per cent reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions in BS-IV heavy duty diesel vehicles compared with BS-III norms.
Leapfrogging to BS-VI norms is likely to reduce 50 per cent particulate matter emissions and 88.5 per cent nitrogen oxide emissions as compared to BS-IV norms. Nearly Rs 60,000 crore was spent on switching over to BS-VI fuels.
In addition, the completion of the Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways at a cost of Rs 17,000 crore has led to 30,000-40,000 goods vehicles being diverted away from Delhi.
The recent amendment in the Motor Vehicles Act and increase in fines from Rs 1,000 to Rs 10,000 for not having PUC certificates, Javadekar said has increased compliance. Due to this, average number of daily PUC certificates issued has increased from 10,000-12,000 to 40,000-50,000. Installation of vapour recovery systems in petrol pumps in NCR is also under implementation.
The minister added that the environmentally-friendly Metro at a cost of more than Rs 70,000 crore is used by over 30 lakh people every day and because of this 4 lakh vehicles are avoided on the roads, thereby reducing pollution.
On actions to control construction and demolition dust, the minister said that 5.94 lakh tons of waste is being processed as recycled aggregate and brick base and 5,477 tons of waste is processed into recycled concrete.
For stubble burning, the Centre has provided Rs 1,151 crore to state governments of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi for providing subsidy on machinery required for management of crop residue. So far, 8,000 implements in Punjab and 9,087 in Haryana have been distributed.
The Agriculture Ministry has computed that paddy residue burning events have reduced by 15 per cent and 41 per cent compared to 2017 and 2016, as per satellite data.
For air quality management, 46 Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) teams are being deployed for field feedback from Monday. Around 145 directions have been issued to implementing agencies for strict enforcement against air polluting activities, he said.