As pollution levels rise in NCR-Delhi, doctors warn the
spread of Covid-19 may worsen. LokMarg speaks to environmentalist Sanjeev Lakda
and several residents about the rise and air pollution level, its reasons and
harmful impact in pandemic times.
There is unanimity that ‘Unlock’ has spelled doom for
the Capital region’s environment. With the return of industrial, vehicular and
stubble-burning activities, Delhi residents are now plagued with a double-whammy
of bad air and virus.
It has launched an aggressive 10-day ‘Clean Air Campaign’ from November 1 to monitor and report polluting activities and ordered halting of construction activities and regulating vehicular traffic.
Civil construction has been suspended in Delhi and surrounding areas of the National Capital Region. All stone crushers and hot mix plants generating dust pollution have also been closed.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee has directed the transport department and the traffic police to intensify their drive against polluting vehicles until November 10.
Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Monday that no leniency would be shown to those who are violating pollution-control norms. He again warned that legal actions were being initiated against people violating regulations.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has blamed stubble-burning in Punjab as the main reason behind the current cycle of air pollution in Delhi. On Sunday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh termed his claim “nonsense”.
But NASA registered a large number of fire counts in Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Sirsa and other areas of Punjab and Haryana.
Also, enforcement data provide in response to an RTI query by activist activist Deepak Juneja has showed that despite the Delhi government deregistering 40 lakh old vehicles to curb air pollution, only 3,196 vehicles have been impounded, which is less than 1 per cent of the total.
Two agencies are responsible for enforcing the ban on 15-year old petrol vehicles and 10-year old diesel vehicles imposed by the National Green Tribunal in 2014 Delhi traffic police and transport department of the Delhi government.
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