About winter pollution in Delhi: Severe policy lapse

Source: The post is based on the following articles “Severe policy lapse-Pollution control needs a holistic approach” published in the Business Standard on 7th November 2022. 

“What will finally save us from toxic air isn’t democracy” published in the Livemint on 7th November 2022. 

Syllabus: GS 3 – Environmental pollution and degradation.

Relevance: About winter pollution in Delhi.

News: The winter pollution in Delhi is devastating. North India’s vehicular, industrial and agricultural pollution does not blow away and instead fills the lungs of hundreds of millions, damaging many in irreparable ways.

What is the reason for winter pollution in Delhi?

Apart from stubble burning, climatic factors like the temperature dropping and the wind speed slowing are also reasonsable. Instead of dissipating the pollutants, they make them hang in the air near the surface in the form of smog.

A private study by the Centre for Science and Environment confirms, local sources of pollution, especially vehicular emissions, constituted 51 per cent of the PM2.5 content of the air. The contribution of other activities was relatively small — about 11% by industrial units, 13% by household activities, 7% by construction work, 5% by the burning of garbage and other wastes, 4% by road dust, and the rest by other factors.

Read more: CAQM Policy to Combat Air Pollution in Delhi NCR – Explained, pointwise
How can North India solve winter pollution in Delhi?

a) Self-interests of politicians: The governments need to increase awareness around the long effects of smog on weak lungs.

b) Farsighted influential stands: The problem of pollution does not lie in checking stubble burning alone. Curbing the local sources of pollutants is equally important. This can be done by,

-Experts suggest that an improvement in the public transport services in the metropolis, with a well-planned integration of metro rail and bus services, and greater use of non-polluting means of travel like electric vehicles are essential. These steps should be incorporated.

-The traffic-control system also needs to be spruced up to avoid traffic snarls and jams on the roads, which aggravate air pollution.

-Manually sweeping roads and burning tree leaves and other wastes should be strictly barred at all times of the year.

c) Consider the issue as nationalism of shame: Instead of indulging in blame games, the governments of the states concerned need to discuss joint strategies to combat this calamity.

Unless a holistic approach is adopted to curb all sources of pollution simultaneously, winter pollution in Delhi is hard to surmount.

Read more: CAQM formulates comprehensive policy to abate the menace of air pollution in Delhi-NCR
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