Implement Graded Response Action Plan Earnestly and Meticulously: Dr. Harsh Vardhan
INVC NEWS New Delhi, Emphasising that air quality has been improving over the last two days, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that the people of Delhi need not panic, as several steps are being taken by the Government to mitigate air pollution. Speaking to mediapersons here today, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) must be earnestly and meticulously implemented by the concerned State Governments, as well as municipal and civic organisations. He added that focussed attention at the highest level has been ensured through committees headed by the Union Minister, Minister of State, MoEF&CC and Secretary, MoEF&CC. Dr. Harsh Vardhan referred to the review meetings with concerned State Governments and agencies and said that crop residue and stubble burning have been under detailed discussions during all these meetings.The Environment Minister pointed out that for the first time, this year, a focussed approach has been adopted to deal with emergency-like situation through GRAP, which had been prepared last year. He added that a Task Force has been set up to review the air quality in Delhi-NCR headed by Member Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board well in advance. Dr. Harsh Vardhan also underlined the augmenting of the number of monitoring stations in Delhi-NCR to enhance the quality of information system. Dr. Harsh Vardhan stressed the fact that as a part of advance planning and special intervention, 40 monitoring teams of CPCB have been deployed since September 1, 2017 to give feedback on the ground situation and air polluting activities in Delhi. ‘A systemic response mechanism was put in place for the last one year and regular alerts were conveyed to all stakeholders’, the Minister said. Earlier, with a view to ensure wider public participation, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has launched campaigns such as “Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali” and “Swachh Hawa for Swacchh and Swasth Bharat” involving over 2000 schools in Delhi and over two lakh schools in the country. A mini-Marathon had also been organised on October 15, 2017 at India Gate, in which nearly 15, 000 school children had participated. Additionally, special focus has been trained on monitoring the situation at specific hotspots such as Anand Vihar, I.T.O, Punjabi Bagh and DTU. Specific interventions have been suggested from time to time, as well as various directions have also been issued to implementation agencies such as state governments, district administration, police authorities, municipal corporations and industries for effective actions to curb air pollution.