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Kejriwal Calls Out Javadekar: 'Don't Downplay Effects Of Stubble Burning On Air Pollution'

Delhi CM Kejriwal has said that Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar is downplaying the effects of stubble burning in the northern states

Prakash Javadekar

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday that the Central Government has been denying that stubble burning is one of the main factors of air pollution in the northern states and is blaming local factors like biomass burning, garbage dumping for the same. CM Kejriwal was reacting to Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar’s statement, where he allegedly downplayed the effects of stubble burning.

"Only 4% of pollution is due to stubble burning. Ninety-six per cent of it is due to local factors like biomass burning, garbage dumping, unpaved roads, dust, construction and demolition activities, etc," Javadekar told reporters at his residence in Delhi.

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Kejriwal argued that the air was clean before stubble burning resumed in northern states, causing pollution on a large scale in the national capital. If stubble burning causes only 4% of pollution, then why has pollution suddenly increased last fortnight? the Chief Minister asked.

Stating that ‘blame game’ and politics has not helped anyone, Kejriwal asked the Centre to accept that stubble burning results in contamination of air resulting in pollution and work towards finding a solution for the same. 

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50 inspection teams to keep a check on air pollution

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday flagged off 50 inspection teams of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for field visits in Delhi-NCR to keep a watch on pollution hot spots during the winter season and urged the Punjab government to curb stubble burning. He said stubble burning, however, is not a major factor for air pollution in Delhi-NCR. The minister said that while on one hand there is stubble burning, on the other, there is garbage being burnt by the public and even by workers.

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Addressing the nodal officers of the CPCB teams, he said, "You will work for the next two months and take note of all activities and complaints. You will inspect all factors. You have the right to file a report on your observations and strict action will be taken."

The 50 CPCB teams will make extensive field visits from October 15 to February 28 next year and focus on hot spots where air pollution is aggravated, the environment ministry said. They will visit Delhi and NCR towns Noida, Ghaziabad, Meerut in Uttar Pradesh; Gurugram, Faridabad, Ballabgarh, Jhajjar, Panipat, Sonepat in Haryana; and Bhiwadi, Alwar, Bharatpur in Rajasthan. 

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