Top officials of the Union environment and the health ministries and the governments of Delhi, Haryana and Punjab are set to depose before a parliamentary panel on Friday to find a “permanent solution" to air pollution in the national capital and adjoining areas. As per a notice issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat on Thursday, officials from the Union ministries of Housing and Urban Affairs, Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and Health and Family Welfare will appear before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban Development, which is chaired by BJP MP Jagdambika Pal.
In addition, officials of the Central Pollution Control Board and the state governments of NCT of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab will also depose before the panel on the ongoing situation of air pollution in the national capital and its adjoining areas. The agenda of the meeting states that the parliamentary panel will deliberate upon “steps taken for prevention of air pollution in Delhi and NCR with special emphasis on finding permanent solution to air pollution in Delhi and NCR." Meanwhile, Delhi’s air quality on Thursday dropped to its worst level since December 2019 with farm fires accounting for 42 per cent of its pollution, the maximum this season so far, according to data from central government agencies.
Experts said unfavourable meteorological conditions — calm winds and low temperatures — and smoke from farm fires in neighbouring states led to a dense layer of haze on Wednesday night as the air quality index entered the ‘severe’ category. The haze thinned on Thursday with higher wind speed helping in dispersion of pollutants. However, the 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 450, the highest since December 30 last year, when it was 446.
All the 36 monitoring stations in Delhi recorded air quality in the ‘severe’ category. The neighbouring cities of Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Greater Noida, Gurgaon and Noida also recorded ‘severe’ air pollution.