Delhi Government Launches 'Green War Room' to Combat Air Pollution

  • 05 Oct 2023

On 3rd Oct, Delhi Chief Minister unveiled a comprehensive plan comprising fifteen points to combat pollution in the city during the upcoming winter season.

In line with this initiative, Delhi Environment Minister introduced the 'Green War Room' to address the persistent issue of air pollution in Delhi.

Key Points

  • Pollution Monitoring: The 'Green War Room' serves as a platform where residents can report instances of pollution in the city via the Green Delhi app.
  • This information is directly transmitted to the war room team.
  • Real-time Pollution Data: The war room also monitors pollution levels in various areas of Delhi, expanding from 9 teams to 17 teams to enhance coverage.
  • 24x7 Operations: The 'Green War Room' operates round the clock, ensuring continuous efforts to combat pollution.
  • Stubble Burning Coordination: The government is also collaborating with states where stubble burning occurs, with Punjab taking proactive measures to reduce such incidents.
  • Bio-Decomposer Usage: Bio-decomposer will be used to control stubble burning in 5,000 acres this year, building on last year's effort of 4,400 acres.

Reasons for Delhi NCR Region Facing Extreme Particulate Pollution

Geographical Reasons

  • Location of Delhi: Delhi is positioned northeast of the Thar Desert, northwest of the central plains, and southwest of the Himalayas. Winds carrying pollutants from coastal areas get "trapped" near the Himalayas, contributing to pollution buildup.
  • Cold Winter Temperatures: During October-November, cooler temperatures result in less vertical air movement. Pollutants are trapped and concentrated at lower atmospheric levels, leading to smog and haze.
  • Lack of Wind in Winter: Winter months in Delhi NCR experience significantly lower average wind speeds compared to summer, exacerbating pollutant concentration.
  • Dust Storms: SAFAR reports indicate that up to 40% of particulate pollution in Delhi can be attributed to "multi-day dust storms" originating in the Middle East.

Anthropogenic Factors

  • Stubble Burning: Stubble burning, rooted in Green Revolution measures from the 1960s-70s, contributes significantly to pollution.
  • Government Policies: Policies in Punjab and Haryana aimed at addressing water scarcity have inadvertently worsened pollution by delaying Kharif cropping.
  • Industrial Activity: Manufacturing, power generation, construction, and transportation, particularly vehicular emissions, are major contributors to Delhi's air pollution, as recognized by the CPCB and NEERI.
  • Minimal Citizen Participation: Delhi lacks a robust citizens' movement for pollution control compared to other regions.
  • Lax Regulations: Regulations tend to focus on bans rather than encouraging and assisting small factories to adopt eco-friendly measures.

Measures to Prevent Pollution

  • Water Sprinklers: To curb dust pollution at 13 hotspots, 530 water sprinklers will be deployed.
  • Vehicle Pollution Checks: A total of 385 teams will monitor vehicle pollution certificates and prevent the use of old vehicles.
  • Ban on Older Vehicles: The Supreme Court had previously banned diesel and petrol vehicles older than 10 and 15 years, respectively, in Delhi.
  • Garbage Burning Ban: Open burning of garbage is prohibited in Delhi, and 611 teams will enforce this rule.
  • Anti-Smog Measures: To tackle road pollution during winter, 258 anti-smog guns will be deployed.
  • Firecracker Ban: There will be a ban on firecrackers in the city.
  • Afforestation: To increase green cover, one crore new saplings will be planted, with the Delhi government responsible for planting 52 lakh of them.