Experts recommend ways to improve Delhi’s air quality  

New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) Experts on Saturday made a number of recommendations to improve Delhi’s worsening air quality at a day-long conclave here.

The event was organised by the Delhi chapter of Indian Association for Air Pollution Control (IAAPC) to formulate short-term as well as long-term policy and solutions to improve the national capital’s air quality.

“More people in Delhi should opt for neighbourhood schools to reduce trip distance frequency. In fact, neighbourhood schools can save 25 million litres of diesel costing Rs.160 crore,” said social scientist Dhunu Roy.

“Similar energy saving exercises can be done for every sector like health, law and order, social justice etc.” he said, adding that a ride sharing programme among the people of Delhi should be encouraged.

He further said carbon and energy intensity standards should be set up and carbon and energy intensity footprinting should be made mandatory for all government departments in the city, as well as corporations, firms, shops and establishments.

“Footprints should be attached to annual reports and audited statements which then may put them up on a website. It is desirable that energy and carbon footprints of each organisation reduce by three percent per annum,” he said.

Another social scientist Sagar Dhara said a plan should be configured to switch over to solar energy and awareness about the ill-effects of pollution should also be highlighted, especially among the children.

“Cities must plan to configure themselves on the future energy source, solar energy. Discuss children’s respiratory ailments and possible remedial action programmes on FM stations,” he said.

Noting that Delhi was one of the most polluted cities in the world and it was seriously affecting the health of its citizens, secretary of IAAPC’s Delhi chapter, Shyam Gupta said there was an “urgent need to formulate short-term as well as long-term policies and solutions.”

However, Mukesh Sharma, architect of air quality index, recently launched by the government of India, blamed the multiplicity of authorities for lack of any action to curb pollution in Delhi.

“Various ministries playing a role in tackling this problem is making it very difficult. The ministry of environment is responsible for tracking and monitoring pollution; the ministry of health is supposed to give evidence of mortality and based on that evidence, the ministry of transport and industry is responsible for taking action on vehicular traffic,” he said.

He further said that there was an urgent need to improve Delhi’s mass transit so that people prefer to use it over their own vehicles.

 

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