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Soon, control room to monitor air quality

Soon, control room to monitor air quality
Taking serious note of sudden deterioration of air quality in the national Capital due to burning of stubble or crop residues by farmers in Punjab and Haryana in a massive scale, the Centre has decided on Friday to set up a control room within the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to constantly monitor day-to-day actions of state agencies to check air pollution. 

Besides, it has also decided to issue notices to states’ pollution control boards under Section 18 of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, to hold local agencies accountable for not taking desired actions against air pollution within their respective jurisdictions.

These decisions were taken in a review meeting undertaken by Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) states including Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to combat air pollution in the past as well. The last such meeting took place in August.

The meeting on Friday, chaired by Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, was the fourth one since the Centre had set up this mechanism early this year. 

Environment ministers and senior officials of Delhi and NCR attended the meet where it was also decided to further step up efforts to combat air pollution.

Announcing these decisions after the review meeting, Javadekar said directions in this regard will be issued shortly under Section 18 of Air Act to improve the quality in Delhi and NCR. He also said the issues of biomass and stubble burning, handling of construction waste and vehicular pollution had been discussed and it was decided to monitor all activities through a control room within the CPCB.

“All state agencies would send their inputs to the Board and also get directions as to how to implement various anti-pollution measures,” Javadekar added.

He said if the state agencies fail to do their jobs, the Centre would issue them notices to hold them accountable under an existing legal mechanism. The minister also appealed to the people for participating in maximum numbers and send the Board or state agencies pictures of biomass, stubble or solid waste burning through WhatsApp so that the authorities could take quick action.
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