As Delhi struggles with its worst air pollution crisis of the year, two tweets by union ministers on Sunday triggered a wave of criticism online. While Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar's post was a music recommendation, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan suggested eating carrots as one of the ways to counter pollution-related health problems.
Mr Javadekar, the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, who has been sparring with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over measures to tackle the massive public health emergency, posted his tweet in English and Hindi separately.
Start your day with music. Below is the link to a scintillating thematic composition "Swagatam" by Veena exponent Emani Sankara Sastry.https://t.co/9e4mtx6I64— Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) November 3, 2019
For more such compositions click onhttps://t.co/yMIlz7rrA9#IndianMusichttps://t.co/9e4mtx6I64
His colleague, Dr Harsh Vardhan, meanwhile, made a case for eating carrots with a reference to the pollution crisis.
#EatRightIndia_34— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) November 3, 2019
Eating carrots helps the body get Vitamin A, potassium, & antioxidants which protect against night blindness common in India. Carrots also help against other pollution-related harm to health.#EatRightIndia@PMOIndia@MoHFW_INDIA@fssaiindiapic.twitter.com/VPjVfiMpR8
The tweets drew instant backlash, highlighting the growing resentment about the government's response to the crisis. #DelhiAirEmergency and #DelhiBachao (Save Delhi) were top trends on Twitter for most of the day.
It would help people infinitely to start the day with fresh air instead of music. Would you happen to have any endorsement tweets on that front?— may. (@mghnaa) November 3, 2019
Seriously? Are you a minister????— vikram (@vikrami31) November 3, 2019
North india is on health emergency due to pollution and see what environment minister is worried about ????— Bhakt nahi Deshbhakt (@Raveesh49235790) November 3, 2019
No offence intended but, Are you nuts?— Richa Gupta (@RichaGupta2711) November 3, 2019
NO COMMENT ON DELHI'S POLLUTION CURBING HAS BEEN MADE BU THE "DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE". What the hell is wrong with the government of this country!
Really? This is excellent news for the millions of people in Delhi NCR who are literally choking to death. Any advice for them? should we ask people to breathe only when necessary? Of course, the music should be a great distraction. Pathetic!— samkit jain (@s_amkit) November 3, 2019
Kindly provide the link to fresh pollution free air......— Politically (in)CORRECT (@thapararyan) November 3, 2019
Any link on "Measures taken by BJP Govt to curb pollution" vl help too....
Noida, Gurgaon choking, any questions asked to Mr. Yogi or Mr. Khatter?
What's the Central government doing to tackle pollution in NCR? Why can't you work out an incentive scheme for farmers to handover the stubble, use it to produce power in summer or in rural areas, work with states for an holistic approach, ban pvt construction Oct-Jan @PMOIndia— ranju sarkar (@RanjuSarkar) November 3, 2019
You are health minister and science and technology minister and elected representative from Delhi. Are you serious about pollution?— Siddharth (@Sidtanwar_) November 3, 2019
Didn't care for Delhi when he was environment minister.— abhiram. (@mvabhiram10) November 3, 2019
Doesn't care for Delhi when he is health minister.
You are a joke, minister.
Stop posting this n do something for the air pollution that is choking us.. irresponsible n selfish politicians— Swadha Mishra (@TheSwadha) November 3, 2019
This govt needs to sack it's social media advisors. Who comes up with such nonsense and lack of sensitivity??— Samrat Nigam (@samrat79) November 3, 2019
Height of insensitivity— Pradeep Gupta (@68pradeepgupta) November 3, 2019
Delhi is gasping for breath & Mantriji is pushing hard use of carrots
Air pollution in New Delhi and surrounding towns reached the worst levels so far this year on Sunday. Authorities in the world's most polluted capital city have already declared a public health emergency and ordered the closure of schools.
The air quality index, measuring levels of PM 2.5, tiny particulate matter in the air, deteriorated to above 900, way over the 500-level that qualifies as "severe-plus".
Aside from the harm it was doing to the lungs of some four crore people living in the capital region, the smog was so bad nearly 40 flights were diverted from Delhi airport due to poor visibility.
Roads looked deserted as large numbers of people stayed home, rather than expose themselves to the noxious atmosphere outside.
The government environment monitoring agency SAFAR warned that no relief was expected for the next one to two days, as humidity resulting from unexpected light rains overnight had exacerbated pollution, already driven by higher the seasonal crop stubble burning by farmers in the surrounding states.