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Environment Minister holds Stakeholder Consultation to discuss Roadmap for Mitigation of Air Pollution


Air Pollution is one of the pressing environmental challenge that we are dealing with presently. The issue gets aggravated during winters due to various reasons which include increased emissions from various existing sources, addition of some of the new sources as burning of crop residues which coincides with onset of winters and adverse meteorological conditions. With expected adverse health impact of air pollution during ensuing winter the crises are again looming. The month of October 2017 is also important as India would be hosting the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Government has been taking many steps to address the issue. However, the comprehensive addressal of the issue requires a collective approach involving all the stakeholders including industries, civil societies andacademia..


Accordingly, a stakeholder consultation involving industry associations, civil societies and academia was organized by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on 16thSeptember 2017 in the Ministry which was presided by Honble Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan. Dr Harsh Vardhan while highlighting the issue of air pollution referred to the role of science and technology in providing the solution. He cited the significance of involvement of industries in taking forward the ground level research to the field. Referring to the importance of policies and regulations for addressing the issue he stated the associated downsides of such regulations when they sometime become too restrictive in nature. He laid emphasis on streamlining the mechanism and reforms of such laws, if needed. He referred to sustainability as moral issue which shall form basis for all actions and decisions..


All the stakeholders were asked to furnish their views with respect to evolving the road map for control and mitigation of air pollution, more specifically focusing in short term on ensuing winters and also for evolving long term strategy. Prof C. R. Babu, Centre for Environment Management of Degraded Ecosystem, University of Delhi suggested for a three layered vegetation strip with specific type of plant species having high pollution absorbing capacity as long term solution and proposed for planation covering of open areas under avenue tress and other barren industrial areas, and revival of sprinkler system as immediate short term strategy for dealing with winter pollution. GAIL Chairman and CMD, NTPC stressed on increasing use of natural gas as fuelalternative to Pet coke and furnace oil while emphasizing on enforcement of existing norms. They indicated their commitment to the cause and assured of all support including in plantation. Cement Manufacturer Association referred to pet coke as safe option if the standards are being met. They indicated their commitment in meeting the standards and other environmental compliance. Dr Ravi Aggarwal, Toxic Link and Ms Anumita CSE stated awareness building as most significant aspect and emphasized on the role of RWAs in addressing the issue. .



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First Published: Sat, September 16 2017. 00:20 IST