In a move to pierce heavy blanket of smog that has wrapped Delhi-NCR for last 8 days, Delhi government recently took a slew of measures to put crippling pollution crisis to an end. However, environmentalists believe that these emergency measures are not effective for a long run, and they are just temporary ways of damage control.
Air pollution is posing threat to more than 40 million people in Delhi-NCR.
News Nation spoke to environmentalist, Vimlendu Jha, founder of organisation Swechha, on government measures and current smog condition.
Excerpts of the interview
Q: What is your take on current smog condition in Delhi-NCR?
A: We have inherited the problem. The current smog crisis is not new to Delhi. The capital is struggling to breathe fresh since long, but centre and state government have been inefficient to chalk out concrete plans to tackle pollution from construction sites, and waste burning, leading to this SOS problem. The centre and state government need to adopt a two-pronged approach and e strong political will to implement a time-bound programme to stop construction waste and waste-burning.
Q: Government is saying that fire crackers burning and stubble burning in Haryana and Punjab are the main reasons for smog?
A: Fire burning and stubble burning are contributing just 10-20 per cent of the current smog condition, construction and waster-burning are the main culprits of air pollution. The current condition is the result of the 30 thousand hectares of deforestation and 80 thousand hectares of concrete in last 10 year.
Q: Your take on these major measures:
- Delhi roads will be sprinkled with water jets from Monday:
Temporary move. This will help but you cannot sprinkle water all over Delhi. The move will help to control smog in a particular location and that too temporary.
- Electric Generators banned in Delhi for 10 days
Government needs to have permanent effective guidelines to control pollution from industries. These are non-sustainable measures, governments need to mull ways on finding sustainable and permanent regulatory measures to tackle the problem.
- Scope of artificial rain
This is not practical approach. How can you suddenly talk about artificial rain, Delhi-NCR is vast and huge. It raises concerns regarding secondary air and water pollution, as chemicals used to cause precipitation. Also, Delhi's dry weather is not suitable for cloud-seeding. For artificial rain some clouds are needed to carry out the process. Humidity in the air is too less for it to succeed in Delhi. Cloud seeding also need huge amount of water. We have people dying for drinking water in the country. Also, the costing involve should be talked about.
More about Cloud seeding or artificial rain
Cloud seeding or artificial rain is a way to induce moisture in the clouds by using silver iodide or dry ice. The chemical is spread onto the clouds by using an aircraft or an artillery gun which leads to a rain shower.
China- In July this year, China allocated 199 million yuan ($29.76 million) to spend on its cloud seeding program to prevent drought.
A team of scientists from Beijing, in July this year, shared cloud seeding technology to India to fight droughts in Maharashtra's Marathwada region.
United States- US occasionally the technology to induce snow falls in ski resorts.
UAE: Cloud seeding is frequently used by UAE to recharge its ground water.