Air pollution: Irked over stubble burning, SC pulls up Punjab chief secretary

Air pollution: Irked over stubble burning, SC pulls up Punjab chief secretary”

"In developing countries like India, we need multi-sectoral approaches that consider both industrial and traditional practices that impact air pollution, and these solutions also need to be multinational".

Kejriwal, who likened Delhi to a "gas chamber" on Friday, said the city had done its part to curb pollution and that the burning of wheat stubble residue on farms outside the capital had to be stopped.

"It is a question of life and death for crores of people".

Fine particulate matter that travels into the respiratory tract can eventually affect lung health and aggravate conditions like asthma and heart disease.

At a close to three-hour hearing, the court rejected Attorney General K.K. Venugopal's suggestion of dividing stubble burning region into seven zones, and allow farmers in each zone to burn stubble in turn.

The court was certainly not done yet.

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When the Punjab counsel replied that it was not possible to keep a tab on 2 lakh farmers who resort to stubble burning, the court redirected its anger towards the chief secretary.

"Provide stubble managing machinery free to small and marginal farmers for the time being, as it will address stubble burning", said Justice Mishra insisting on incentivising farmers to help stop burning stubble. Punjab chief secretary must be hauled up. "You are not bothered and are letting the people die", the bench said.

Delhi breathed easier on Thursday morning as pollution levels dropped further due to moderate wind speed.

The top court also pulled up UP, Haryana and Delhi governments for not doing enough to tackle pollution.

The court, after learning that Punjab contributes maximum to stubble burning and despite warning fires have not reduced, warned the government it would not spare single officer of the state government for not acting on pollution.

"The bench, also comprising Justice Deepak Gupta, directed the Centre and state governments of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to prepare a comprehensive scheme within 3 months to take care of environmental issues". Speaking to ANI, they said, "Kanpur faces the heat of the pollution all year round, the AQI has become worse after Diwali". The chief reason attributed to this is the stubble burning.

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