As told to Parliament (December 19, 2022): No evidence to link poor AQI in NCR with green cracker burning

Delhi-NCR air quality in October, November 2022 best in 7 years, Ashwini Kumar Choubey tells Lok Sabha

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 20 December 2022
संसद में आज: 800 आर्सेनिक प्रभावित बस्तियों में से मात्र 69 बस्तियों में नल से जलापूर्ति

There is no evidence available to suggest the severely compromised Air Quality Index (AQI) of the national capital region (NCR) of India is caused by the burning of green crackers, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union minister of state for environment, forest and climate change told the Lok Sabha December 19, 2022.

Air in Delhi-NCR in October and November this year has been the cleanest in seven years, with some of the lowest average AQI, the minister said. 

There is no proposal for banning firecrackers, he added. The Supreme Court, however, limited the manufacturing and sale of conventional firecrackers and allowed only the crackers with reduced emissions (minimum 30 per cent less emission of particulate matter) as green crackers, Choubey added.

Generator ban

The central government has no proposal to ban the use of generators in the polluted cities of the country, Choubey said in the Lok Sabha. 

However, in the wake of adverse air quality in Delhi and NCR and to prevent, control and abate air pollution caused by the diesel generator sets in the region, the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and adjoining areas has issued regulations / directions for ban on use of DG sets, except for emergency purposes in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi, the minister added. 

Minor forest produce for tribal people

The Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs has released Rs 319.65 crore to the states for the procurement of minor forest produce on notified minimum support price, Renuka Singh Saruta, Union minister of state for tribal affairs told the Lok Sabha.

This was done under the ‘Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through MSP and Development of Value Chain for MFP’ scheme (now merged with the Pradhan Mantri Janjatiya Vikas Mission), SIngh said.

Procurement of MFP worth Rs 524.35 crore was done under this scheme during the financial years 2014-15 to 2022-23, the minister added.

Cleaning of rivers

An expenditure of Rs 1,514.7 crore has been incurred for cleaning of river Yamuna under the Yamuna Action Plan I & II since 1993 to create sewage treatment plant of capacity of 942 million litres per day, Bishweswar Tudu, Union minister of state for Jal Shakti (water resources) told the Rajya Sabha. 

The rehabilitation of STPs of 328 MLD capacity in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh was also undertaken, he said.

In addition, under the Namami Gange Programme, after 2015 till October 2022, 26 projects have been sanctioned at a cost of Rs 4,438.39 crore for creating / rehabilitating 1,837 MLD STP capacity in the Yamuna basin. 

These 26 projects are in Himachal Pradesh (one project), Haryana (two projects), Delhi (11 projects) and Uttar Pradesh (12 projects). Out of these 26 projects, 13 have already been completed, adding 583 MLD STP capacity, the minister added. 

Arsenic-affected households

As on April 1, 2022, 800 habitations were affected by arsenic, according to data furnished by states, Prahlad Singh Patel, Union minister of state for Jal Shakti, told the Rajya Sabha.

States had planned to cover 708 habitations through piped water supply during the first three quarters of 2022-23, of which 69 habitations have been covered already, Patel noted.

Namami Gange programme

A total of 406 projects have been taken up by the National Mission for Clean Ganga, out of which 224 projects have been completed and made operational, Bishweswar Tudu, Minister Of State For Jal Shakti told the Rajya Sabha.

Under the Namami Gange Programme of the mission, a comprehensive set of effective interventions such as wastewater treatment, solid waste management, riverfront management (ghats and crematoria development), e-flow, afforestation, biodiversity conservation and public participation have been taken up for rejuvenation of River Ganga and its tributaries, the minister added. 

CO2 emissions from steel industry

The Carbon dioxide emissions from India’s iron and steel sector as reported in the country’s first, second and third Biennial Update Reports for the years 2010, 2014 and 2016 were 95.998 million tonnes, 154.678 million tonnes and 135.420 million tonnes respectively, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Union minister for steel told the Rajya Sabha.

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change periodically submits India’s national communications and biennial update reports to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the minister said. These include the national greenhouse gas inventory, he added. 

Read more: 

Achieving green steel: How India can bridge the gaps to decarbonise the sector

CSE analysis finds Delhi-NCR winter pollution levels down in October-November

Green crackers answer to Diwali pollution but manufacturing limited

COP15 Montreal: Tribals are sentinels of forest biodiversity, not destructors

Future in forest: How eviction of villagers from Achanakmar tiger reserve united adivasis to fight for CFRR

Arsenic now in wheat, potato — and more than that in drinking water — in rural Bihar

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