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Centre to convene meeting with States to curb winter pollution

Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar with Minister of State S Babul Supriyo during a press conference at National Media Centre in New Delhi, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

With winter approaching and concerns over an imminent rise in pollution across Delhi and other cities in the Gangetic plain, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that he will be convening a “virtual conference” of Environment Ministers of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan and officials in the State department as well as from city Corporations.

“We had asked State to prepare short-, medium- and long-term plans for curbing pollution in 2016 and this meeting will be a review. It will be a free discussion,” he said at a conference on Tuesday.

So far, the minister said, there have been several meetings this year already with the State as well one that included the Prime Minister’s Office to discuss issues around curbing pollution.

Also read | Data: How pollution moved from north to south

From October, teams of officials from the Central Pollution Control Board will be conducting spot checks in the Delhi National Capital Region to catch and fine offenders who may be burning plastic waste, littering or be constructing and demolishing structures without adhering to protocol.

Stubble burning, whereby farmers in Punjab and Haryana burn the straw after harvesting paddy, is a significant contributor to the noxious winter pollution in Delhi. The Centre’s key prong in addressing this problem has been to encourage farmers to use combine harvester and other heavy machinery which has had limited success.

On Saturday, Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal wrote to Javadekar saying that alternatie technologies ought to be tried to disincentivise stubble burning.

Crop fires are influenced by meteorological factors as well human activities that include construction and the running of power plants.

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Printable version | Oct 31, 2020 4:48:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/centre-to-convene-meeting-with-states-to-curb-winter-pollution/article32722610.ece

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