Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday instructed the states in the National Capital Region(NCR) to take all possible measures to prevent any spike in air pollution levels since the much expected Under-17 FIFA World Cup will be happening in Delhi. Vardhan held a review meeting with the officials of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab at the environment ministry in New Delhi with the issue of biomass burning as the focal point.
“We told them that this year is all the more important as the World Cup is taking place in Delhi and if there is any situation where pollution levels shoot up, it will be embarrassing for the country. It can have an international impact,” Vardhan said. Interestingly none of the environment ministers from these states had attended the meeting which the minister shrugged off saying that there will be another meeting for which all of them will be notified in advance.
Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain is on Haj pilgrimage. Chief Secretary M M Kutty represented the local administration.
The issue of biomass burning in neighbouring Haryana and Punjab has been identified as a major source of air pollution in Delhi during the winter months since there will be 8 matches that are scheduled in Delhi’s JNU between 6-16 Ocober, just around Diwali when the fire crackers that would be burst would send the pollution levels to real high.
“The CSIR run plant in Uttarakhand’s Kashipur can process 10 tonnes biomass per day to produce 3,000 litres ethanol on a daily basis and the states were apprised of the same and all feasible measures to convert the agricultural waste into wealth will be conveyed to the states in the next few days”, Vardhan said adding further “We require thorough coordination amongst the neighbouring states and a multipronged approach where the sources of pollution are dealt with from all angles.”