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Panelists say that war against pollution can be effective only if politics is left out of it

APN’s popular debate Mudda discussed the state of pollution in and around Delhi. To combat pollution, odd-even rule has started in Delhi, and construction activity has been curtailed.  Anchorperson Neha Dubey posed questions to panelists including the BJP’s KC Jain, AAP’s SK Bagga and Rajeshand environmentalists Vikrant Tongar and Dhruvsen Singh.

Jain said: “Preparations to fight pollution should have started much earlier. The pollution is either due to stubble burning or cracker burning. The government has tried its best, but please note down that the change of season and stubble burning leads to pollution every year. Haze goes up dramatically around this time. Framers have been informed about the harmful effects of stubble burning.”

Bagga said: “Delhi CM has even told children to tell farmers to sop stubble burning. Delhi government is trying its best.” Neha wanted to know from Bagga how exactly the efforts of the government bore fruit? Bagga said: “Due to the awareness campaigns, burning of crackers was down by over 50 percent this year. Even I have travelled by bus today, many people have used cycles to commute. The main cause is stubble burning. This is a fact, we are not trying to look at scapegoats.”

Tongar said: “This is not either a seasonal problem, or that of the other states. If Mr Bagga reads papers, he will know that this problem is also aggravated due to construction activity, the diminishing green spaces, and so on. This year, pollution has risen even more than last year. Metro fares should come down, many steps can be taken, but leaders are busy making brownie points.”

Bagga said: “There are some free buses, government has done a lot already. But all other facts are minor, the main reason is stubble burning.”

Jain said: “Yogi ji has taken some steps, like sprinkling of water on the roads. Farmers needed to be shown viable alternatives so that they don’t burn the stubble. Instead of burning the stubble, steps should be taken to use it in an eco-friendly way.”

Tongar said: “Stronger political will is needed.”

Rajesh said: “People are following Delhi CM’s instructions. Delhi people are supportive, but look today BJP leader Vijay Goel tried to defy the rule. Stubble burning is something which the neighbouring states need to look into. In Delhi, construction work is halted.”

Dhruvsen Singh said: “We all know that in winter, air quality index goes down and people face breathing difficulty. All factors that raise pollution should be dealt with in earnest, whether it is stubble burning or traffic congestion. In case of rain, air quality will improve. We need to sprinkle water, and that will have a salubrious effect fast. Tall trees can be used as a filter.”

Tongar said: “Look at the Ridge area or the Arvalli range, the green lungs of Delhi…don’t we all know that builders have been eying these to commercialise these areas.”

Rajesh said: “Tree plantation drive has been taken up by the government. But the problem is that one government plants trees, the other government cuts them.”

Tongar said: “But the clearances to commercialise Delhi spaces is given by the Delhi government, isn’t it?”

Dhruvsen Singh said: “Whether water sprinkling of roads or opting for car pooling and so on, awareness campaigns, government action as well as individual action, all go to help together. Implementation of programmes is equally important.”

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