Holidays extended, air purifiers installed in schools

Holidays extended, air purifiers installed in schools
Highlights

New Delhi continues to face the Capital Punishment with pollution levels refusing to come down due to the failure of the administration in containing the pollution causing industries mostly. 

New Delhi: New Delhi continues to face the Capital Punishment with pollution levels refusing to come down due to the failure of the administration in containing the pollution causing industries mostly.

Schools have been forced, not just in Delhi, but also in NCR to install air purifiers but the result has not been really encouraging, school managements admit. Several schools have extended the emergency holidays by two more days into this week too ie, on Monday and Tuesday, too.

The Delhi government itself is not sure whether to go for the Odd-Even formula as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the government to annul exceptions to two wheelers, VVIPs and women as had been done in the past.

New Delhi has about 60 lakh registered two wheelers and at least one crore commute by these on an average. Even if only half of them ply due to the O-E formula, 30 lakh commuters require to travel by other modes of travel like the metro or RTC buses.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was keen to implement the formula from this Monday, went back on the same worried over the impact of the O-E formula on the common man and is all set to submit his new plan to the NGT on Monday.

However, all fingers point to the indiscriminate usage of pet coke by the industry in and around the city. The pet coke usage has been banned in all developed countries. Even China has banned the same, but India remains the largest importer of the same and the imports stand at 14 million tonne every year.

This is the most preferred option for the industries as switching over to better options like oil and even diesel or power leads to cost overburden. Though, he did announce free travel during the vehicle ban days, the transport corporation woefully lacks in the numbers as the fleet augmentation proposal has been pending since long.

The Supreme Court recently had asked three states to ban two cheap but highly polluting industrial fuels and pulled up the Centre for “sitting and doing nothing” to clean up the toxic air in the national capital region.

The court directed Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to notify the ban immediately after it was informed that pollution in NCR shot up after Diwali due to toxic gases emitted by industrial hubs which use furnace oil and petroleum coke.

Delhi banned the two fuels in 1996, but their use continued in NCR by cement factories, dyeing units, paper mills, brick kilns and ceramics manufacturers.

Two reasons for continued usage of the same is attributable to corruption and fear of unemployment as these units employ thousands of workers.
The court was informed that automobile fuel — petrol and diesel — has 50 parts per million (PPM) of the highly dangerous Sulphur.

Comparatively, furnace oil has 15,000- 23,000 ppm Sulphur and petcoke 69,000-74,000 ppm Sulphur. They emit Sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide, which form particulate matter, tiny particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs.

The court did come down heavily on the Centre for not notifying emission norms for Sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide for 34 industries. The court had also fined the government Rs 2 lakh for “not doing the job honestly”.

The Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) – a court-appointed panel -- had demanded prohibition on polluting industrial fuels. Experts have opined that unless pet coke is completely banned, the expected results would not be achieved by ad hoc measures like O-E formula.

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