Hussain writes to Harsh Vardhan to call meet of environment ministers of NCR states.
New Delhi: Delhi environment minister Imran Hussain on Wednesday asked the Central government to call a meeting of the environment ministers of NCR states and other stakeholder departments to find solution to the issue of air pollution in the national capital.
In a letter addressed to Union environment, forest and climate change minister Harsh Vardhan, he said that there was a need for the ministers and other agencies to come together to resolve the issue of pollution from bio-mass burning, industries, vehicular emissions, construction and demolition activities, selection of landfill sites for municipal solid waste management among others.
Citing the World Health Organisation (WHO) global air pollution data that highlights that 14 most polluted cities are in India, Mr Hussain stressed that the current situation “is a serious cause of worry for all of us”.
He said that due to a “multitude of agencies” such as the Delhi Development Authority, the Municipal Corporations of Delhi and different departments of the Delhi government — all separately involved in pollution control efforts — problems “remain unresolved and are rather aggravate” the situation.
In another letter to the Union environment minister, Mr Hussain sought an appointment with Mr Harsh Vardhan over the selection of landfill sites in the capital as the three existing ones have exceeded their capacity to manage municipal solid waste.
This request came a day after the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) moved the National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeking cancellation of allotment of two landfill sites in the city — Sonia Vihar and Ghonda Gujaran — by the Central government-controlled DDA to a civic body ruled by the BJP.
In a letter addressed to the Union minister, Mr Hussain complained that the sites identified by DDA in Sonia Vihar can cause “grave” environmental problems, and are also in the midst of thickly populated area inhabited mostly by underprivileged sections of the society.
The minister said that the selection of new sites “needs to be decided keeping in view the local factors i.e. population size residing in the neighbourhood, threats of water pollution due to leaching of harmful and toxic substances, threats of air pollution...”
To ensure holistic development of the city, the minister said there is an “urgent” need to identify waste disposal sites keeping in mind health, safety and well being of neighbouring residents.