The Delhi government will hold consultations with 24 organisations and environmental experts on Tuesday experts as part of its preparations for the action plan to deal with the pollution ahead of the winter when air quality deteriorates due to a combination of calm winds, low temperatures, fog and stubble burning.
Environment minister Gopal Rai on Monday said that suggestions of the experts will be included in the plan as he announced the ban on the use, sale, production, and bursting of firecrackers in the Capital on Diwali will continue. Pollution levels usually spike because of bursting of firecrackers in violation of bans on Diwali.
“Delhi government has started preparing the winter action plan against pollution…,” said Rai. He added 24 organisations including the United Nations Environment Programme, Indian Institutes of Technology Delhi and Kanpur will take part in the consultations on Tuesday.
Rai said that PM 10 levels in Delhi have fallen by 42% while PM 2.5 levels by 46% since 2014. Rai added multiple agencies with different roles were working and a meeting of all stakeholders will take place on September 14.
“The major goal of this meeting is to create a coordinated action plan in the fight against Delhi’s pollution. Based on the key points outlined in the winter action plan, specific responsibilities will be given to departments during the meeting scheduled for September 14,” said Rai. He added the government’s goal is to control pollution through public engagement.
Rais said the action plan will be based on focus points such as stubble and garbage burning, vehicular and dust pollution, hotspots, dialogue with the Union government and neighbouring states, green war room and green apps.
Delhi annually faces a public health crisis in the run-up to and during most of the winter. The crisis begins with the farm fires in the states of Punjab and Haryana, where farmers set fire to miles and miles of paddy fields after harvest to clear them of residue.
Meteorological conditions such as a lack of winds that would otherwise blow local pollutants away and festival fireworks during Diwali worsen the crises . An amalgamation of factors creates conditions that force shutting of schools, halting of construction work, limits on business, etc.