Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday flagged off 50 CPCB inspection teams for field visits in Delhi-NCR to keep a watch on pollution hot spots during the winter season and urged the Punjab government to curb stubble burning. However, he said stubble burning is not a major factor for air pollution in Delhi-NCR.
"Only 4 percent pollution is due to stubble burning. Ninety-six per cent of it is due to local factors like biomass burning, garbage dumping, unpaved roads, dust, construction and demolition activities etc," he said, speaking to reporters at his residence in Delhi.
Javadekar said his throat choked with the smoke from burning of crop residue during a recent visit to Ludhiana. "Punjab government should ensure there is not much stubble burning this time," the minister said.
Addressing the nodal officials of the Central Pollution Control Board teams, he said, "You will work for next two months and take note of all activities and complaints. You will inspect all factors. You have the right to file a report on your observations and strict action will be taken."
The 50 CPCB teams will make extensive field visits from October 15 to February 28 next year and focus on hot spot areas where the air pollution is aggravated, the ministry said. They will visit Delhi and NCR towns Noida, Ghaziabad, Meerut in Uttar Pradesh; Gurugram, Faridabad, Ballabgarh, Jhajjar, Panipat, Sonepat in Haryana; and Bhiwadi, Alwar, Bharatpur in Rajasthan.