Pollution Pain


As Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) reels under severe air pollution that has reached an alarming level leading to multiple health hazards of citizens, state governments have been busy in politicking by playing blame game. Instead of solutions, leaders are coming out with bizarre, short-sighted and shallow ideas. The result: The National capital is gasping for fresh air. 
It has been same every year. As winter sets in Delhiites struggle to breathe. After Diwali as stubble burning begins in nearby states, the air quality index (AQI) starts fluctuating between ‘very poor’ to ‘severe’, turning Delhi and NCR into a gas chamber. In Delhi, Wednesday was one such day with AQI touching 406 mark in Anand Vihar, followed by ITO 382 and Akshardham 363.
Noida, which is a part of the national capital region, slipped to an AQI of 406, and remained in the ‘severe’ category, while Gurugram’s AQI stood at 346 and at the ‘very poor category, as per the data released by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) India earlier this morning.
A student Rameshwari from ITO, said “I am very much concerned to breathe in Delhi nowadays. Vehicular pollution and stubble burning have made Delhi’s air toxic, affecting both the rich and the poor.”
“We face the same thing in the winter every year. This time crackers were sold in black and were burst in plenty. Now the toxic air is affecting everyone, especially the aged persons”, said Rajkumar, who works at Gulab Bhavan, ITO.
Rinki Yadav, who came to Nehru Park for a walk, said “I am feeling irritation in my eyes. My children also feel uneasiness in breathing due to pollution. Both the Central and Delhi governments should make a concrete policy to curb pollution.”
A Rajouri Garden resident Kamaldeep Singh, who came for a morning walk in Nehru Park, also expressed his concern over the deteriorated air quality in the national capital. Kamaldeep Singh said “I am feeling sore in my throat and acute irritation in my eyes. Kids and aged people nowadays are avoiding going on walks due to severe air pollution.”
However, politicians have ­something else to say. Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Wednesday hold “people” of Delhi responsible for bad air quality. “I appeal to people if possible work from home and avoid taking out private vehicles. 50% of the pollution is from vehicles. People shouldn’t burst crackers,” Rai told reporters here.
The burning of agricultural waste in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, according to analysts, is one of the primary reasons for the rising air pollution in the region.
“Stubble burning in Punjab is happening due to Centre as they didn’t support Punjab govt, farmers to stop it” added Gopal Rai.
“I request the UP and Haryana governments to form a regional special task force to reduce air pollution in areas adjoining Delhi like Gurugram, Faridabad, Ghaziabad and Noida. The pollution problem is not the state’s problem. It happens due to the air system that develops” Rai said while urging the governments of BJP-led governments of the states adjoining Delhi.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann squarely blamed Central Government for rise in stubble burning cases in Punjab. Mann said, “Central Government hates Punjab Farmers and that is why it did not provide Rs 1500 subsidy on Paddy straw disposal to farmers and did not approve bio-gas plant in Punjab yet.”
This received immediate reaction from the Union Minister and BJP leader Bhupender Yadav who came down heavily on AAP over Punjab farm fires and said that as of today, a state run by the AAP government has seen over 19 per cent rise in farm fires over 2021. He pointed out that Haryana, a state run by the BJP government has seen a 30.6 per cent drop in farm fires.
Blaming AAP for rising pollution in the national capital, he said, “there is no doubt over who has turned Delhi into a gas chamber.”
“Sample this: As of today, Punjab, a state run by the AAP government, has seen an over 19 per cent rise in farm fires over 2021.
Haryana has seen a 30.6 per cent drop. Just today, Punjab saw 3,634 fires. There is no doubt about who has turned Delhi into a gas chamber,” Yadav tweeted.