The Delhi government on Thursday launched a new initiative to tackle air pollution. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the campaign Red Light On, Gaadi Off will help in fighting air pollution in the capital. This announcement comes as Delhi air has gradually started deteriorating at the onset of winter.
"We are launching a campaign 'Red Light On, Gaadi Off' to tackle air pollution. There are 1 crore vehicles registered in Delhi. According to experts, even if 10 lakh vehicles turn off ignition at traffic signals, then 1.5 tonnes of PM10 will reduce in a year," he said during a press conference on Thursday. He urged the people of Delhi to take an oath to this end. "If you switch the engine off, you will save more fuel and it will also help reduce pollution," he said.
Air quality in Delhi has already touched 'very poor' levels. The government has put into effect strict anti-air pollution measures including a ban on electricity generators under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). Air quality was in very poor category in ITO with AQI at 366, 309 in RK Puram, 313 in Anand Vihar and 339 in Wazirpur, according to the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) data.
Instances of stubble burning have already surfaced in neighbouring states. Aditya Dabas, Deputy Director Agriculture, Karnal said, "From September 25 to October 12, 233 cases of stubble burning have surfaced. Fine is being imposed on farmers who are burning stubble and two FIRs have been registered. We are on alert."
Meanwhile, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said that 50 teams of CPCB will be deployed for inspection in Delhi-NCR from today. "Stubble burning contributes only 4 per cent of pollutants in the environment of Delhi, rest is due to local factors like dust, construction and biomass burning," said the minister.
As and when the air quality turns severe, GRAP recommends closing of brick kilns, stone crushers and hot mix plants. It also suggests sprinkling of water, frequent mechanised cleaning of roads and maximising power generation from natural gas during that period. When it hits an emergency, Delhi will stop entry of trucks and construction activities would be halted. Odd-even would also be put in place then.