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Delhi Pollution An 'Emergency', Says Environment Minister

Environment Minister Anil Dave has called for a meeting with environment ministers of all neighbouring states on Monday.

06/11/2016 9:38 AM IST | Updated 06/11/2016 10:28 AM IST
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Adnan Abidi / Reuters

Delhi is witnessing an "emergency situation" due to alarming pollution level, the Centre said on Saturday and called a meeting of Environment Ministers of all neighbouring states on Monday to curb stubble burning by farmers which has made Delhi a "gas chamber".

As a blanket of haze continued to cover the city with pollution level remaining very high and breaching the safe limit by over 17 times at several places, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met Environment Minister Anil Dave and sought Centre's urgent intervention to deal with the challenge.

Kejriwal likened the city to a "gas chamber" with main reason being smoke from farm fires in Punjab and Haryana and appealed to people to minimise use of vehicles.

After the meeting, Dave said he has called a meeting of Environment Ministers of all neighbouring states on Monday and will request them to curb stubble burning in their states as it increases level of smog in Delhi.

"There is an emergency situation in Delhi. The situation is bad, particularly for children, patients, women and elderly. We need to take immediate steps to deal with the situation," Dave told reporters, adding he was also exploring the possibility to call a meeting of chief ministers of all neighbouring states on the issue.

On his part, Kejriwal appealed to people to restrict use of private vehicles and use public transport.

Earlier, addressing a press conference, Kejriwal said vehicle restriction measures like odd-even will not be able to bring down smog as initial studies suggest that the "large scale" influx of pollutant-laden smoke from Punjab and Haryana has aggravated the situation.

"Pollution has increased to an extent that outdoors in Delhi are resembling a gas chamber. Prima facie the biggest reason seems to be burning of stubble in agricultural fields in Haryana and Punjab in huge quantity," he said.

Dave said the situation has been "very alarming" and that there was a need to take short-term measures to deal with the situation immediately, adding he discussed with Kejriwal "emergency measures" including ways to contain dust pollution and crop burning.

"There are five reasons triggering air pollution that include use of firewood, coal, diesel, petrol and burning of agricultural waste. We have to find solution to address the problem

"We should imbibe self discipline in our routine life style. If I don't minimize use of my four cars and expect other people to use cycles, that should not be happen. We should collectively come under self-regulation," he said.

Both Dave and Kejriwal were in agreement that shutting down schools was not the solution when asked about the decision of the civic bodies to keep schools run by it closed for a day in view of pollution.

Kejriwal pitched for providing alternatives and incentives to farmers so that they discard the traditional practise of burning farm stubbles. .

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