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UP Environment Minister raps Punjab govt for Delhi-NCR’s pollution

Noida, Nov 6, 2022- Pollution is increasing continuously in Delhi-NCR and the Air Quality Index (AQI) has reached the most “severe” category, leading to many people difficulty in breathing and irritation in eyes.

Keeping the AQI in view, the governments has implemented the stage 4 of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), prohibiting all construction work and has banned diesel vehicles. However, as strict measures are being taken to ensure the safety of people from the high pollution levels, a political fight has also broken out over the causes.

Uttar Pradesh Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister, Dr Arun Kumar commented on issues related to pollution in a conversation.

Q: You are an MBBS doctor yourself, how dangerous do you consider the increasing pollution for the common public?

A: This increasing pollution is very harmful for children and the elderly as it can cause many respiratory, and skin related diseases. Along with this, it also causes a lot of damage to the internal organs.

Q: Who is responsible for increasing pollution?

A: Punjab is considered the most responsible for this, especially in Delhi-NCR, as stubble burning is still prevalent in the state. The air coming from the state contaminates the entire NCR including Delhi, Noida, and adjoining areas of western UP. The Punjab government does not put restrictions on the same. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, on the contrary, holds the UP government responible for spreading pollution, while it is Punjab, that is actually behind it.

The AAP government in Punjab has not banned the burning of stubble which is one of the biggest reasons behind the increasing pollution levels. More stubble than last year was burnt this time.

Q: Can Odd-Even scheme be implemented in UP?

A: The Odd-Even scheme is totally useless. No data suggesting its success has been found so far which is why no plan has been made to implement it in UP.

The Delhi government should inform the public about the goals it has achieved by implementing the scheme. No reduction in the AQI or pollution has been recorded when it is in force.

Q: What actions are being taken by the UP government to prevent the increasing pollution in Noida, Ghaziabad and its surrounding areas?

A: A review meeting was held regarding pollution and the orders of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) are being followed. 19 sweeping machines have been allotted and water is being sprinkled incessantly.

Tiles and grass will be put at roadsides where dust accumulates. The government has provided 80 anti-smoke guns to Noida Authority. A campaign to make the streets free from potholes is also underway.

Waste management is being done in Noida and Ghaziabad. 60 ongoing projects found violating the rules have been shut down. Stage 4 rules of GRAP have been implemented at construction sites. Schools have been closed while keeping children’s health in mind.

Q: What special measures are being taken in western UP, where the effect of pollution is at its highest?

A: A complete ban on burning wood and coal has been enforced. The units causing pollution are being monitored. More and more electricity is being supplied to prevent people from using generators that cause pollution.

Registration of vehicles of 10 and 15 years is being cancelled to prevent vehicular pollution. Fines are being imposed on anyone found burning garbage in the open as it is completely banned.  (Agency)

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