Sunday, November 27, 2022

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NHRC “not satisfied” with actions, summons chief secretaries of 4 states over increasing air pollution

New Delhi: Amid rising air pollution in Delhi-NCR, the NHRC has asked the chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to appear before it on November 10 to discuss the matter, an official statement said on Friday.

The National Human Rights Commission said it is “not satisfied” with the actions taken so far to address the issue and noted that stubble burning in the states surrounding the national capital is the major cause of air pollution in Delhi and NCR region.

The NHRC has asked the chief cecretaries to inform within a week about the steps taken by their respective governments to stop the stubble burning.

Their reports must also inform about the effect of smog towers and anti-smog guns as to how many such anti-smog guns are operational and what further Delhi and other governments are taking in near future,” the statement said.

“The report of Punjab and Haryana must also specifically inform about the effect of the scheme of in-situ management of crop residue,” it added.

The Commission initiated these directions following a report and the material on record received from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) in response to a notice issued by it on 22nd June.

It said it had issued the notice after taking suo motu cognizance of media reports alleging that air pollution is a great threat to human health in India, reducing overall life expectancy by 5 years and 9.7 years for the people in Delhi.

“The Commission has noted the measures taken so far but observed these are not enough to reduce the pollution level in Delhi-NCR. It is of the considered view that much more needs to be done to reduce the pollution level immediately,” the statement said.

Despite several directions from time to time, “nothing much has improved”. One of the major causes of air pollution in the Delhi-NCR region is stubble burning in the states surrounding it, it said.

The NHRC further stated that “notwithstanding several directions of the Supreme Court, the National Green Tribunal and other authorities, the air quality in Delhi-NCR has not seen required improvement for a human-friendly environment, which cannot be allowed to remain so perpetually”.

Deteriorating air quality in Delhi

The air quality of the national capital on Friday morning turned “severe” as the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of the city stood at 472, according to data from the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

AQI presently stands at 562 in Noida (UP) in ‘Severe’ category, 539 in Gurugram (Haryana) in ‘Severe’ category & 563 near Delhi University in ‘Severe’ category. Delhi’s overall AQI is currently in the ‘Severe’ category at 472.

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