AAP's Reena Gupta said people in Northern India are suffering due to air pollution (File)
Aam Aadmi Party Senior leader and National spokesperson Reena Gupta attacked the Centre, alleging that the entire North India is struggling with air pollution, but it has no concrete action plan to control it.
Reena Gupta, in a press conference, said, "People in Northern India are suffering due to air pollution, but the Central Government lacks any action plan to control it. The surprising thing is that on October 24, the Central Government shut down that database. They closed the SAFAR website because we began raising our voices that 70 per cent of Delhi's air pollution is coming from outside Delhi, most of which is from BJP-ruled states."
The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) is a national initiative introduced by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) to measure the air quality of a metropolitan city, by measuring the overall pollution level and the location-specific air quality of the city.
The system is indigenously developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune and is operationalized by the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
The AAP National Spokesperson said, "Currently, only the Kejriwal government in Delhi is taking strong measures to reduce air pollution by implementing winter and summer action plans. As a result, Delhi's air quality has seen a 30 per cent improvement in the last few years."
Pointing out that 70 per cent of Delhi's air pollution is coming from outside states, she said, "Data from the central government's IMD department's website reveals that 70 per cent of Delhi's air pollution is coming from outside states. When they raised their voices about controlling pollution from outside states, the Central Government shut down that website."
Expressing her concern over rising AQI levels in northern India, Reena Gupta said, "As the winter season comes, the air quality of the entire northern region of India deteriorates. Be it UP, Delhi, Punjab, Gurgaon, etc. Doctors will tell you that there is a sudden rise in the number of patients with asthma during the winter in northern India. As of 2019, 99.5 per cent of districts in India did not meet WHO's air quality guidelines. This implies that 99 per cent of the people in the country are not breathing 'healthy Air.' This is a big emergency, and the Central Government should take appropriate measures concerning the health of Indians. To date, no plans have been announced by the PM and the Union Environment Minister."
She emphasized that in the entire country, only Delhi's CM Arvind Kejriwal is concerned about the people and their health. Each year Delhi's CM Arvind Kejriwal announces the 'Winter Action Plan' and 'Summer Action Plan' to brief about measures to be taken by the Delhi Government to save common people from the deteriorating environment.
"In the list of 50 most polluted cities, 39 cities feature from India only. Among these 39, 20 most polluted cities are from UP but one would be shocked to know that the BJP-ruled UP government hasn't ever mentioned 'Air Quality.' Only the Delhi government is working towards the air quality, and because of this, there's been an improvement of 30 per cent in air quality," she added.
Talking about the Supreme Court ruling and NGT order on Delhi pollution Reena Gupta said, "For the past 10 years, the Supreme Court has been telling the UP Government to find a solution to brick kilns because it cause a lot of air pollution. The Court also suggested using new technology, but the UP Government has not taken any steps in this regard. Even today, there are 2,000 brick kilns in the NCR that are operating with old technology. Among them, 150 kilns are in Ghaziabad, and 250 are in Muzaffarnagar. All the smoke from these kilns goes to Delhi. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered that all industries should use clean fuel, meaning use PNG. After this, all industries in Delhi are running on PNG, but nothing has been done in the NCR so far."
Reena Gupta said that a high-level meeting of all the Environment Ministers of the northern states should be convened and the SAFAR website should be restarted.
"The Aam Aadmi Party has two demands. The first demand is that a high-level meeting of all the Environment Ministers of the northern states should be convened. The second demand is to reopen the SAFAR website because the public should know where the pollution is coming from and which government agencies are responsible."
"The Central Government is only good at passing the buck; they don't do any real work. Only the Delhi government is actively working to reduce pollution. The Kejriwal government has shut down power plants that were spreading pollution. They have implemented an electric vehicle policy to reduce pollution and encouraged industries to switch to PNG. However, unless all other state governments work similarly, pollution cannot be reduced," the spokesperson concluded.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)