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Crop residue management and shifting to cleaner fuels a priority to combat air pollution

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | October 11, 2022 04:16 PM

NEW DELHI: Aiming coordinated action and cooperation of all stakeholders to combat air pollution that affects Delhi-NCR region in this season, Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav held a meeting with the Environment Ministers of NCR states, Delhi and Punjab to review the activities being undertaken and planned by the states.

The major sectors discussed in the meeting included agricultural stubble burning, industrial pollution, pollution from diesel generator sets, vehicular pollution, electric mobility, dust from road and open areas and dust from construction and demolition activity.

While the issue of stubble burning is a prime concern for all stakeholders, action taken and planned on the incidents of paddy residue burning were also highlighted by the states in the meeting. The state governments have informed that they have involved the local bodies and are innovatively providing the machinery to the farmers to promote in-situ methods of handling crop residue.

Expansion of area under bio-decomposers as an important strategy towards in-situ stubble management was also discussed in the meeting. The states informed about the progress in the ex-situ crop residue management and activities undertaken to promote alternate usage of paddy straw as an economic resource.

The virtual meeting was attended by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who is also in charge of the state environment portfolio, Hemaram Choudhary, Rajasthan, Gopal Rai, Delhi, Arun Kumar, UP and Gurmeet Singh Meet, Punjab.

The states of Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi also informed about the dust control and management actions being undertaken. The area under green cover has expanded with 2,72,01,113 plantations till September 30, 2022. Sixty (60) Dust Control and Management Cells have been set up by road owning/ maintaining agencies with 11 in Delhi, 18 in UP, 17 in Haryana and 14 in Rajasthan. States have also deployed machines for road sweeping and water sprinkling.

Officials said that efforts are being made to combat pollution from dust from construction and demolition activities. The web portal which is functional in Delhi, Haryana and UP mandates registration of projects on plot size more than 500 sqm to follow directions to control dust from construction activity. Deployment of anti-smog guns as per the total construction area as a requirement to counter pollution by dust was also discussed.

The issue of vehicular pollution was also deliberated upon in the meeting and the states informed about strict action being taken to ensure that all vehicles have the pollution under check (PUC) certificate. Road traffic management systems were also discussed.

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