Delhi choking, but do not blame stubble burning alone

Source: The post is based on the article “Delhi choking, but do not blame stubble burning alone” published in The Hindu on 7th December 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Environment

Relevance: concerns and measures needed to address air pollution in Delhi

News:  The pollution in Delhi every year around winter is a serious concern that needs to be addressed as it has serious health concerns.

What are the problems with the polluted air?

India now reports 2.5 million air pollution-related deaths annually. Pollution makes throats and eyes burn.

Some pollutants are so small that they enter the bloodstream impacting almost every organ in the body causing heart attack and other serious health problems.

Why has there been no change in the air quality of Delhi?

The reason behind no change is that every year the same measures are tried to address the issue without evaluating the effectiveness of the previous measures.

For example, the Government formed the Commission for Air Quality Management. It issued the same orders like the Ministry and the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority did.

These repeated ineffective guidelines make government to prohibit people from going outside, closing schools, banning entrance of trucks and construction activities every year. These lead to bad governance.

What are the reasons behind the bad air quality of Delhi?

Stubble burning: It is one of the major problems which government has tried to solve over years. However, those measures have not been successful. For example, Happy Seeder based solution has not been effective.

Biomass burning: The burning of biomass around Delhi is another major reason for the pollution. However, none of the government bodies whether municipal body or the Public Works Department is trying to solve the issue.

Other major reasons behind the pollution are dust and emission from industrial activities, vehicular emission, lack of last-mile connectivity of public transport, and lack of governance to monitor the existing mechanism.

How can the problem be addressed?

a) there is a need for fundamental shift in agricultural patterns along with providing compensation to farmers to tackle the issue of stubble burning, b) unauthorized industries are the large emitter so those industries should be monitored, c) ensuring the last mile connectivity of the public transport so that people use it as alternative to private vehicles, d) proper governance system is needed with a single entity that takes responsibility for air quality management,

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