Every year as the air turns cold and the festive season is around the corner, residents of Delhi brace for a fresh bout of pollution. But this year, Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal seems to be making no stone unturned to ensure the air quality remains within the permitted limit.
In the past few days, the Delhi government has introduced a number of measures under the ‘Yuddh. Pradushan ke Viruddh’ anti-pollution campaign. These include the launching of the anti-dust campaign, introducing the use of the bio-decomposer technique for stubble burning, announcing the tree transplantation policy and launching the electric vehicle policy.
Each year, Delhi faces a severe air quality crisis, mainly attributed to the problem of stubble burning practiced by farmers in Delhi and Haryana and nearby areas in order to clear their farms for a fresh crop.
Here is what India can learn from the Delhi government when it comes to tackling the problem of air pollution.
Bio Decomposer Solution
The Bio decomposer solution was developed and tested by Delhi’s PUSA Institute as a viable alternative to stubble burning. The solution can turn stubble to softened manure, thus eliminating the need for burning the stubble. The Delhi government plans to provide this solution free of cost to farmers in Delhi and has urged nearby states to do the same.
Smog Towers and Anti-smog Guns
The Delhi government is also investing in installing “Smog Towers” in high-pollution density areas in the capital such as Cannaught Place. The Delhi cabinet on Friday sanctioned Rs 20 crore for the setting up of the one-of-a-kind device which will help spread clean air across the city. Incidentally, this will be the second such tower to be installed in the world after the one in China. Not just the towers, the Delhi government has also deployed several anti-smog guns across the city to control dust. The guns spray nebulised water droplets into the air to help dust settle down.
Shutting Thermal Plants
Apart from stubble-burning, another source of air pollution in Delhi include thermal energy plants that emit a large amount of air pollution. In that regard, the Delhi government has already shut down two such plants in the city. It has also requested nearby states to shut down 11 such thermal plants located around the capital that cause pollution in Delhi.
The Kejriwal government has been known for its pro-greenery policies. In a fresh bid to ensure the city’s tree cover, the government has mandated that at least 80 percent of the trees that are razed for construction activity must be replanted. The move might help solve the twin problems of providing adequate housing to residents while also maintaining the ecological balance.
These aren’t the only measures that the Delhi government has taken to curb the menace of air pollution. An anti-pollution war room has been set up in the capital to monitor air quality and assess the environment by a team of experts in real-time. Delhi has also implemented an EV policy and incentivized EVs to fight vehicular pollution and imposed heavy fines for breaking environmental laws. Violating dust control rules can cost one a fine of up to a whopping Rs 20 lakh. The Delhi Pollution Committee Has also imposed a fine of Rs 1 crore on garbage burning in certain areas of the city.
Whether the measures work still remains to be seen.