Delhi pollution: Stubble burning major contributor in 2019, says CPCB Secy

Central Pollution Control Board Member Secretary Prashant Gargava on Wednesday said stubble burning contributed significantly to air pollution in Delhi this year with the share of farm fire smoke in particulate matter peaking to 44 percent.

According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality monitor SAFAR, smoke from stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana accounted for 44 per cent of pollution in Delhi on November 1, the highest this year.

"Crop residue burning has contributed a lot. This year, its contribution was almost 44-45 percent... bringing all the smoke to Delhi. And, we have low surface winds... nothing goes out," Gargava said at an event here.

He suggested undertaking a special drive in the city to remove construction and demolition waste and garbage every year before October.

"Garbage dumping and burning creates problem. We will have to work together and clean up garbage so that it does not create a problem. There has to be special clean-up drive in the month of July, August, or September that takes away all construction and demolition waste and garbage collected in the city," he said.

The CPCB member secretary also stressed the need to quickly and heavily invest in public transportation to reduce vehicular emissions.

"As policymakers, we have to quickly and heavily invest in public transportation. I head a task force to deal with similar situations ... the biggest difficulty is how do I do with the transportation?

"The moment you start thinking about banning cars, diesel cars, then how do we get people to the route? ...unless and until we have quick, a very robust, efficient, affordable convenient transportation system. Involve private people in this," he said.

Delhi has around 5,500 buses and 370 kilometers of metro network. Around 42 lakh people travel through buses, while 50.13 lakh opt for metro trains every day.

Gargava also said power plants emit sulphur dioxide and it's contribution to particulate matter pollution is huge.

"It is almost 25-30 percent of particles... Means we have to deal with gaseous emissions as well. All power plants in the country will have flue-gas desulfurisation technology to reduce air pollution.

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