New Delhi: Green bodies today lauded the launch of the 'clean air campaign' — a joint effort by the Centre and the Delhi government — and said it should be taken as a pilot for other regions to address "rising national health emergency".
Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today launched the 'clean air campaign' to curb air pollution in Delhi-NCR.
Under the campaign, 70 teams comprising officials from various government agencies will fan out and monitor causes of pollution and initiate remedial measures, including on-the-spot penal action against serious polluters.
Terming the campaign a "much-needed step", the Greenpeace India said it was a welcome step considering the severity of air pollution in Delhi-NCR. "As a country, we are well past the stage of discussing what may have caused this nation-wide airpocalypse," it said.
"Air pollution is not a problem that afflicts just Delhi-NCR but also all states across India and specifically northern India.
"The clock is ticking and to deal with the issue, the government needs to bring the draft National Clean Air Program (announced last December) in public domain and should start taking comprehensive, systematic and time-bound actions to curb air pollution levels as soon as possible," said Sunil Dahiya, Senior Campaigner Greenpeace India.
He said this should be a major step towards curbing air pollution across the country as both the central and the state government have started coming on a common platform and are discussing the issue in public domain.
"This should be a pilot for other regions as well to curtail the rising national health emergency," he said.
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said it was encouraging to see the environment ministry taking such an initiative to build public and policy awareness on this critical public health issue.
"Our expectation will be that this is sustained to build momentum for action not only in Delhi and NCR, but also nationally," Anumita Roychowdhury, the CSE's executive director and the head of its Right to Clean Air campaign, told PTI.
The campaign launched today will also include enforcement of pollution-control measures for vehicles, driving discipline, inspection of power plants in Delhi to ensure they comply with the norms on pollution, etc.
Local area development plans to specifically address air pollution will also be worked at and implemented.