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It's public health emergency in Delhi but hardly a solution in sight

The share of stubble burning from the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana in Delhi's pollution rose to 46% on Friday, the highest this year

Agencies 

Silhouette of children seen through a layer of dense fog on a cold, winter morning, in New Delhi, Sunday
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday asked Punjab, Haryana and Central governments to give specific deadlines, by when they will put stop on stubble burning

The share of stubble burning from the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana in Delhi's pollution rose to 46 per cent on Friday, the highest this year, government agency SAFAR said as the in the capital nose-dived further.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister on Friday asked Punjab, Haryana and Central governments to give specific deadlines, by when they will put stop on stubble burning.

"We want specific timelines from Punjab government led by Captain Amarinder Singh, Haryana government led by Manohar Lal Khattar and from Central government that by when they will put a stop on stubble burning activity," said Kejriwal while addressing a press conference here.

As the pollution levels entered the "severe plus" category", the Supreme Court mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) on Friday declared a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR region and banned construction activity till November 5.

It also asked implementing agencies to take immediate stringent action to stop stubble-burning in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.

The Delhi government on Friday issued a notification to implement the odd-even road rationing scheme from November 4-15. It also decided to stagger working hours of its offices during the implementation of the 12-day odd-even scheme, a move aimed at reducing traffic congestion and pollution in the city.

However, private offices in the capital will not come under the government order, with Chief Minister saying this is the first experiment of staggered office timings, but next time the AAP dispensation will consider the same for them.

The Chief minister said no surge pricing will not be done by app-based cabs during the

According to an order issued by the general administration department, working hours of a total of 42 government offices have been staggered, with 21 having office timings from 10.30 pm to 7 pm and the rest from 9.30 am to 6 pm. The order said the new office timings will be only applicable during the from November 4-15.

According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences' monitor, SAFAR, the share of stubble burning in Delhi's pollution rose to 46 per cent on Friday, with farm fires continuing to rage in Haryana and Punjab.

"The effective stubble fire counts of Northern west India (Haryana and Punjab) is showing an increasing trend and on its peak value of this year (3178) which has increased its share significantly to 46 per cent," the SAFAR said.

Factors that remained unfavourable towards dispersion of pollutants included low surface wind speed, dust lifting and low humidity, the SAFAR said.

The Supreme Court will consider on Monday a special pollution control report filed by a panel appointed by it, the EPCA, and other issues including pollution caused by stubble-burning in the neighbouring states.

The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority in its report has among other things sought directions to NCR states to take steps to stop burning of waste, toxic emissions from industries and dust from construction sites.

The crucial hearing assumes significance as the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority on Friday declared a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR and banned construction activity till November 5 after the pollution level entered "severe plus" category.

Besides the report, the apex court would also consider other issues, including pollution caused by stubble-burning in neighbouring states.

The overall Index of Delhi was recorded in the "severe" category at 484 at 3 pm with almost all monitoring stations recording "severe" air quality, the Central pollution Control Board (CPCB) said.

An AQI between 0-50 is considered 'good', 51-100 'satisfactory', 101-200 'moderate', 201-300 'poor', 301-400 'very poor' and 401-500 'severe'. Above 500 falls in the 'severe-plus emergency' category.

First Published: Fri, November 01 2019. 20:42 IST
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