"It's About Our Kids' Health, Future": Arvind Kejriwal On Delhi Pollution

Arvind Kejriwal ended his video with a plea to all Delhi residents to use anti-pollution masks and respect the 'odd-even' road-rationing scheme that comes into effect on Monday. "I am concerned about all of you," he said

Delhi AQI: Arvind Kejriwal has blamed stubble burning in Haryana, Punjab for the pollution

New Delhi:

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has hit back at allegations his government is playing a "blame game" over the air pollution crisis in the national capital. In an impassioned plea posted on Facebook, Mr Kejriwal said "we don't want to do that (play blame games)... it is about our health... our kids... our future... what would we get if we played blame game?" The Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi went deep into the "emergency" zone this morning with the national capital recording an overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of 625 - the highest this year - at around 10 am. Earlier today Mr Kejriwal tweeted: "(People of) Delhi suffering for no fault of theirs" and repeated his call for help from the centre.

"In the last 20 days so much smog has come to Delhi but the media is saying 'don't do blame game'. We don't want to do that. It is about our health... our kids... our future. What would we get if we played blame game?" Arvind Kejriwal said in the video.

"We are just saying... what is the disease? The disease is that air polluted by crop burning comes into Delhi and we have to stop it. We don't want to blame anyone. We are saying we need to come together to stop this. There should be no politics on this," he added.

The Delhi Chief Minister, who called the city a "gas chamber" on Saturday, has faced attacks from multiple fronts in the past week, with his counterparts in Punjab and Haryana reacting to claims that stubble burning in their states had continued to the crisis in the capital. He was also attacked by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, who slammed him for "politicising" the issue and said he was trying to paint the centre as "villains".

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, admitted illegal farm fires in his state had added to the issue but said "large-scale industrial pollution, traffic overload and excessive construction activity were equally, if not more, to blame".

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Data from last week showed nearly 3,000 farm fires were burning in Punjab and Haryana alone

According to data from the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the contribution of stubble burning to haze and air pollution in Delhi-NCR was 46 per cent on Friday, 24 per cent on Thursday and 35 per cent on Wednesday.

The centre has provided subsidies of between 50 and 80 per cent but a Punjab farmer has told NDTV the machinery is still very expensive and "it is compulsion to burn stubble".

"Punjab and Haryana have 27 lakh farmers. There have been many machines that have been distributed over the last few years to stop them from burning stubble... but how do we reach all of them?" Mr Kejriwal asked.

"Wherever there used to be construction, we have done raids upon raids to stop it and wherever there was dust we have imposed fines. We are not claiming everything is finished. This Diwali there were fewer firecrackers... Delhi government did a laser show in Connaught Place and thousands showed up. We tried everything we could and people (of Delhi) came together," Mr Kejriwal said today.

Mr Singh and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar have also called for joint efforts by Chief Ministers of affected states in consultation with the centre, a call Mr Kejriwal made again.

Arvind Kejriwal ended his video with a plea to all Delhi residents to use anti-pollution masks and respect the 'odd-even' road-rationing scheme that comes into effect on Monday.

"I am concerned about all of you. I am worried about our Delhi family. Let us face this together. Tomorrow 'odd-even' will start. Let us observe this and give our best. I will follow 'odd-even'. You please follow it too. Thank you," he said.

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