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Emergency steps to combat pollution come into effect

Emergency steps to combat pollution come into effect
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NEW DELHI: As emergency measures to check pollution came into force from Thursday in Delhi-NCR, state pollution control bodies have been directed to initiate criminal prosecution against violators.

Meanwhile, the Delhi government said it was fully prepared to implement an odd-even scheme to regulate private vehicles when needed.

"There should be no blame game or politics over pollution. This is a grave matter. We can make policies and laws like waste management. We have given technical and financial support to bring down stubble burning," said Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan.

Vardhan further said that the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had sent 41 teams for the past one month on the field take care of the pollution level. There are apps where people can approach these teams. "I just had a meeting Delhi environment minister, Delhi secretary and representatives from Haryana and Punjab. Last year we had a 15-day campaign around this time. We are going to have something similar this time as well. Around 70 teams will go to the field," he added.

The environment minister also said that the government has collaborated with lung care foundations to spread awareness among students with the help of asthma manual guides for schools. The minister also added that over 300 sprinklers were put in action to reduce dust on the roads and mechanised sweeping of the streets was being done on a daily basis to minimize dust further.

In 2016, the odd-even scheme was enforced twice - January 1-15 and April 15-30 in the city when vehicles having odd and even numbers were allowed to ply on alternate days.

The Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) had earlier accepted the recommendation of a Central Pollution Control Board-led task force for the period between November 1 to 10 when air quality dips further due to the festive season and stubble burning in neighbouring states.

The DPCC order includes the halt of all construction activities involving excavation, civil construction to remain closed in Delhi and other NCR districts from November 1-10, besides closure of all stone crushers, hot mix plants generating dust pollution in Delhi and NCR districts. All industries using coal and biomass as fuel(excluding thermal and waste to energy plants) will remain closed in Delhi and NCR districts from November 4-10.

Two days after the air quality slipped into 'severe' category, there was a marginal dip in pollution level due to increased wind speed, but the air quality remained 'very poor'.

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