Delhi Choking: EPCA Calls to Immediately Stop Stubble Burning

As air quality dipped to emergency levels in the national capital, the Supreme Court-mandated pollution control body EPCA on Friday, 1 November, asked implementing agencies to take immediate stringent action to stop stubble-burning in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.

Earlier in the day, the EPCA declared a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR and banned construction activities till 5 November. It also banned bursting of crackers during the winter season.

Stubble-burning in the neighbouring states has been one of the major contributors to pollution in the national capital. On Thursday, 31 October, stubble-burning in Punjab and Haryana contributed to 27 per cent pollution in Delhi, while on Wednesday, 30 October, the contribution was recorded at 35 per cent, the highest so far.

Also Read: Stubble Burning: Major Source of Pollution or Political Scapegoat?

The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority also directed the agencies to take strict action against biomass-burning in Delhi and the outer National Capital Region.

Earlier in the day, the EPCA declared a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR and banned construction activities till 5 November. It also banned bursting of crackers during the winter season.

"The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority has directed implementing agencies to take immediate stringent actions to stop stubble-burning in neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana," according to a letter EPCA chief Bhure Lal wrote to the chief secretaries of the two states.

According to data from Punjab and Central Pollution Control Boards, the state has recorded a whopping increase of 7,842 fires ⁠— from 12,027 on 27 October to 19,869 on 30 October.

Haryana recorded an increase of 476 cases — from 3,735 on 27 October to 4,211 on 30 October.

Delhi recorded its worst air quality of this season on Friday, 1 November, as the Air Quality Index dipped to 483.

An AQI between 0-50 is considered ‘good’, 51-100 ‘satisfactory’, 101-200 ‘moderate’, 201-300 ‘poor’, 301-400 ‘very poor’ and 401-500 ‘severe’. Above 500 falls in the ‘severe-plus emergency’ category.

Also Read: Smog, Smog Everywhere: How To Protect Kids from Air Pollution?

In a separate letter to chief secretaries of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, Bhure Lal said, "The air quality in Delhi and NCR deteriorated further last night and is now at the severe plus level. We have to take this as a public heath emergency as it will have adverse health impacts on all, particularly our children."

Under these circumstances, he said, construction activities, hot mix plants and stone crushers in Delhi, Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida will remain closed till the morning of 5 November.

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by FIT.)

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Also Read: Public Health Emergency in Delhi-NCR: What Do EPCA Guidelines Say?

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