Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday wrote to the Centre and his Punjab and Haryana counterparts, seeking “urgent and bold action” to deal with stubble burning in the neighbouring states during winters. Kejriwal said crop stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana is a major contributor to the pollution in Delhi in the months of October and November.
In his letter to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar and Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, he said his government has already announced its action plan, including odd-even scheme from November 4-15, to tackle deteriorating air quality due to crop burning in the winters.
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The Delhi chief minister appreciated central and state governments, saying they were making efforts but more needs to be done to stop pollution. “There is little that the people of Delhi can do to fight pollution due to crop stubble burning happening in Punjab and Haryana which is a major contributor to pollution in Delhi in the months of October and November,” he said.
Kejriwal said the health of people was the foremost responsibility of any government. “Unfortunately, high levels of air pollution in winter months in the entire northern India region puts to risk the health of all our people, especially children and the elderly. The gravity of this issue calls for bold, urgent action,” he also said.
According to the chief minister, the AAP government has also begun consultations on the community Diwali events being planned to encourage people to give up crackers and come together to enjoy the festival with a laser show instead. Delhi is the only city in the country where pollution is on the decline, with the concentration of PM 2.5 reducing by 25 per cent in the last three years, he said.
However, the latest rankings of the most polluted cities in the world brings home a harsh reality – seven of the world’s 10 most polluted cities are in India. While Delhi ranks 11 on this list, the top three Indian cities are Gurugram, Ghaziabad and Faridabad, Kejriwal added.