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Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan today said there was no need to panic over the poor air quality in Delhi and hoped the situation would return to normal in the "next few days".
Air pollutant touched calamitous levels in Delhi yesterday, as a thick grey smog hung low across the region, prompting the government to declare schools closed till Sunday, halt construction activity and ban the entry of trucks in the city.
Vardhan, who was here to participate in a function organised by the CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography said, "From yesterday to today, things have become better (on the air pollution front in Delhi). All this actually got precipitated because of weather conditions."
"There was some moisture, which came from eastern Uttar Pradesh and due to wind speed this particulate matter got accumulated in the atmosphere," the minister said.
Vardhan, who also holds the portfolio of Science, Technology and Earth Sciences, said it was expected that in another 24 hours things would be under control due to measures being undertaken by various government agencies.
"I am hopeful that things would be under control. There is no reason for anyone to panic. We should be taking adequate amount of precautions to ensure that we by and large stay indoors and do not expose our children to too much of polluted air," Vardhan maintained.
"We should be performing a positive role and contributing positively to improve the situation," he said.
The minister said governments of Delhi and the neighbouring states should fulfil their respective responsibilities.
"Steps (to improve the situation) have to taken by the Delhi government, they should work with total sincerity. Similarly, neighbouring state governments will also have to fulfil their part of the responsibility," he said.
Vardhan said, "I am sure in the near future, in the next few days, things would return to normal."
The minister said the Centre is already in touch with all the state governments in the Delhi-NCR region.
"We have once again asked them to implement the graded action plan. There is a detailed action plan whenever such a situation on air pollution arises. Everybody has to get into action."
Vardhan said the Union government is monitoring the situation at its own level and considering a slew of steps to curb the air pollution, including closing the Badarpur Thermal Power Station (in NCT Delhi), and shutting down stone crushers.
"Similarly, we have asked the Delhi government to sprinkle water on roads or use mechanised ways for dust removal from roads," he added.
The minister said the neighbouring states have been instructed to stop crop burning.