New Delhi: A day after Delhi and another 13 Indian cities figured in a WHO list of world's top-20 most polluted cities, environment minister Imran Hussain on Thursday wrote a letter to union minister Harsh Vardhan seeking a meeting between environment ministers of all NCR states.
Delhi is notorious for its highly polluted air which becomes even worse in the winter months due to several reasons including paddy stubble burning in neighbouring states. Most environmentalists agree that despite several plans being thought of, many remain only on paper. Under such circumstances, Hussain wrote seeking collective action. "Collectively as a team, the environment ministers of various states under your guidance have been making efforts to curb air pollution, but it is clear from the latest global data that we need an urgent and concrete nationwide plan to effectively counter this growing threat, which poses major health challenge to the people of our country," he wrote in the letter, according to news agency ANI.
Seeking active participation of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, Hussain said that pollution recognises no borders and boundaries, and therefore requires to be fought together.
Apart from Delhi, the WHO list included Gurgaon and Faridabad as the most polluted in the world. UP's Kanpur fared the worst.
PM 2.5 and 10 levels across many Indian cities are alarmingly high and medical experts agree that it can have long-term impact even on healthy individuals. For the young, the elerdly and those with breathing disorders, the toxic air can be potentially lethal. And yet, action on ground has been few and far in-between. Many also argue that alarm bells only ring when visibility drops in the winter months. They say toxic air is not just present when smog engulfs cities like Delhi but is a constant threat - each day, every day.