Air pollution level in Delhi-National Capital Region is currently 100 times more than that of London and Tokyo, and 85 times more than that of Paris. The argument that we have a burgeoning population does not hold water, because Beijing, teeming with population, has brought about 5 percent improvement in air pollution level in the last five years. On the other hand, air pollution level in Delhi-NCR rose by nearly 13 percent.
Face-saving measures like ban on crackers on Diwali night or odd-even rules for plying of vehicles will not do. None of the state governments tried to stop burning of stubble in fields of Delhi, Haryana and Punjab. No stern measure was taken to stop pollution from nearly 20,000 factories. No water was sprinkled on 40,000 tonnes of dust that emanated from construction sites. Not a single among the one lakh-odd trucks and 89 lakh vehicles that enter the capital daily was stopped.
In a belated move, the Lt. Governor of Delhi on Wednesday imposed a ban on entry of all trucks, except those carrying essential goods, into Delhi and all construction activity inside the capital. But these are not permanent solutions. It appears that the government takes decisions only when a big crisis occurs. The government only wakes up when it finds its citizens facing trouble even to breathe. The air in Delhi will not become clean through such ad hoc measures. We need to change our overall attitude.
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