Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai has urgently appealed to the Central government to limit vehicles in Delhi-NCR to those running on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), and electricity, and compliant with Bharat Stage VI (BS VI) emission standards. Rai’s call comes amidst rising concerns about deteriorating air quality due to Diwali festivities and stubble burning in neighbouring states.
In a formal letter addressed to Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav, Rai emphasized the need for immediate action to curb vehicular pollution. He proposed convening an emergency meeting with states in the National Capital Region (NCR) to address the escalating issue.
Starting from November 1, the Central government, through the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), has mandated that only electric, CNG, and BS VI-compliant diesel buses are allowed to operate between Delhi and cities falling within NCR, including areas in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan.
Rai also advocated for a comprehensive ban on vehicles not adhering to BS VI norms throughout the entire National Capital Region. Recent studies have underscored the significant contribution of vehicular emissions to PM2.5 levels in Delhi, ranging from 9 to 38 percent.
Despite a marginal improvement in wind speed, pollution levels remained alarmingly high, exceeding 80 times the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended limit for PM2.5 particles. The persistent toxic haze, lingering for the fifth consecutive day, has raised concerns among healthcare professionals, particularly regarding respiratory and eye problems in vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly.
The deteriorating air quality in Delhi-NCR can be attributed to plummeting temperatures, stagnant winds trapping pollutants, and a surge in post-harvest paddy straw burning in Punjab and Haryana. According to data from the Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi’s Air Quality Index soared by over 200 points between October 27 and November 3, leading to its classification as ‘severe plus’ (above 450) on Friday.
Rai’s urgent plea underscores the pressing need for coordinated efforts to mitigate the pollution crisis and protect the health and well-being of the residents in the National Capital Region. The situation remains a cause for serious concern, prompting calls for immediate action and stricter regulations on vehicular emissions. (With inputs from PTI)