As told to Parliament (November 29, 2021): Industries contribute up to a third of Delhi’s pollution

All that was discussed in the House through the day

By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 29 November 2021

The major sources of air pollution in Delhi and the National Capital Region (Delhi-NCR), which aggravate during the winter due to unfavourable meteorological conditions, include industrial and vehicular pollution; dust from construction and demolition activities; road dust; biomass, stubble and municipal solid waste burning; fires in sanitary landfills, etc, Ashwini Kr Choubey, minister of state in the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest And Climate Change (MoEF&CC) told the Lok Sabha November 29, 2021.

Industries contributed 27 per cent and 30 per cent to particulate matter (PM)10 and PM2.5 respectively during the winter months in Delhi. Dust (soil, road and construction) contributed 25 per cent and 17 per cent to PM10 and PM2.5 respectively.

Transport contributed 24 per cent and 28 per cent to PM10 and PM2.5 respectively, Choubey said. These figures were from a source apportionment study that was carried out for Delhi-NCR by TERI-ARAI in the year 2018, he added.

‘TERI’ stands for The Energy and Resources Institute while ‘ARAI’ stands for the Automotive Research Association of India.

Sulphur dioxide

Coal-based thermal power plants were a major source of anthropogenic sulphur dioxide (SO2) that contributed to air pollution, Ashwini Choubey told the Lok Sabha.

He added that there were no SO2 emission norms for coal-based thermal power plants before the MoEF&CC stipulated them through its notification dated December 7, 2015.


Information regarding the quantity of toxic e-waste to be disposed of in various power companies throughout the country was not available with the MoEF&CC, since it was not collected user-wise, Choubey told the Lok Sabha.

Nevertheless, power-generating units had deployed electronic and electrical equipment which would finally attain an end-of-life state and turn into e-waste.

All power firms, being bulk consumers of electronic and electrical equipment, were obliged to dispose of e-waste in the prescribed manner by handing over to authorised recyclers / dismantlers, Choubey said. This was in accordance with the extant provisions of the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016. 

Carbon emission 

India’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2014, including land use, land use change and forestry were 2,306.3 million tonne carbon dioxide quivalent (CO2eq) and 2,531.07 million tonne CO2eq in 2016, Choubey told the Lok Sabha.

These figures were according to the second and third biennial update report submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

However, the emission intensity of India’s gross domestic product had reduced by 24 per cent between 2005 and 2016, Choubey added.

Drinking water

No state government referred any report to the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti (water resources) about extreme shortage of drinking water in any city.

However, the ministry had identified 1,597 blocks in 255 districts as water-stressed. Some 756 urban local bodies (ULB) had been identified as water-stressed from the information, of which 84 ULBs were in Uttar Pradesh, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Jal Shakti minister told the Rajya Sabha.

Green hydrogen

The government  had made  efforts  to  promote  hydrogen as fuel but its popularity was still dependent on price reduction and various other  developments in technology, Rameswar Teli, minister of state in the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas told the Rajya Sabha.

Tribal displacement

No information regarding the number of families facing the threat of displacement due to commercial licences being given for coal mining was available, Bishweswar Tudu, Union minister of tribal affairs told the Lok Sabha.

Ganga clean-up

An amount of Rs 9,933.43 crore had been released by the National Mission for Clean Ganga to state governments / executing agencies during the last five financial years (FY 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21) and in the current financial year till October 31, 2021, Bishweswar Tudu, Union minister of state for Jal Shakti told the Rajya Sabha.

Groundwater pollution

Contaminants such as fluoride, arsenic, nitrate, iron and heavy metals beyond permissible limits were present in groundwater in various states and Union territories, Tudu told the Rajya Sabha.

Groundwater contamination was mostly geogenic in nature and did not show a significant change over the years. However, nitrate contamination was mostly anthropogenic and its spread had been noticed in some areas, Tudu said.

Yamuna pollution

An estimated sewage flow of 3,270 million litres per day (MLD) was being generated in Delhi against which, the Delhi Government was treating 2,340  MLD at 34 sewage treatment plants (STP) of 2,624 MLD cumulative capacity, with an average utilisation of 89 per cent. 

Delhi was also treating industrial effluents with a volume of 61.9 MLD, against the installed 13 common effluent treatment plants of 212.3 MLD capacity, Tudu told the Rajya Sabha.

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