National Clean Air Programme: Tharoor suggests framework to fight pollution

Photo: PTI

Congress member Shashi Tharoor on Thursday suggested that a legislative framework be adopted to implement the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which proposes multiple measures to combat air pollution.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Tharoor said political differences should be kept aside as there was a need to work together to address this "toxicity".

"A legislative approach needs to be adopted to implement the NCAP," he said.

Citing various studies, the Thiruvananthapuram MP said pollution has adverse impact on the economy of the country.

"It is genuinely not too late. It is a national crisis. It is extremely important that we understand the urgency of this issue," he said during a discussion on 'Air Pollution and Climate Change'.

Tharoor asserted that there is a need to work together in a collaborative spirit to deal with this perennial issue.

Since 1929, ozone-related deaths have jumped by about 150 per cent, he said, adding that the country's GDP will be higher if we deal with this matter.

"Affect of pollution on our quality of life is incalculable...These are the worst months of the year," the MP said.

Citing a medical study, Tharoor said air pollution leads to an irreversible lung damage in children.

He claimed that many foreigners have left India because of the menace of air pollution and many hesitate to come to India due to this problem.

Further, Tharoor cited the example of China and how the neighbouring country's stringent steps to deal with air pollution has yielded positive results there.

China has also used a technology wherein it filters carbon particles from air to make diamonds by compressing that, he claimed.

"Can we do in Delhi, what others have done," he asked, adding that the government should specify steps it is taking to deal with the issue.

Legal means need to be adopted to fix accountability and an ambitious action plan must be implemented, Tharoor said.

He added that farmers should not be blamed for pollution and the government should provide incentives to them to find a solution.

"We must have a collaborative action plan for this...we need to take on board civil society also. It is important that we now work together in a collaborative spirit," Tharoor said.

Participating in the discussion, Rajiv Pratap Rudy said air pollution is not limited to Delhi only. Stubble burning is just one of the hundred of factors responsible for pollution and hence, farmers should not be held responsible, he said.

Sunita Duggal of the BJP said the US has walked out of the climate change agreement despite being the biggest polluter, therefore all members should write to US President Donald Trump to re-join.

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