India–– New Delhi: The governments of Delhi, Punjab and Haryana will be meeting officials of the Environment Pollution Control Authority today to take stock of the smog situation in the national capital. There was a thick haze over the city’s skyline for almost a week before it finally cleared out yesterday.
Today’s meeting, to be attended by secretaries of Delhi, Haryana and Punjab as well as scientists and environmentalists, is expected to focus on the causes and the solutions to the thick smog cover that has engulfed the city, indicating a sharp drop in the air quality.
The meeting has also been necessitated after the Delhi government sought the intervention of the Centre, saying that the smog has been a result of massive burning of straw by farmers in the neighbouring states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana and not due to vehicular pollution.
But activists have blamed the environmental hazard on the rising number of vehicles and the resultant emissions in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Even though the smog cover that had enveloped Delhi for the past few days finally lifted on Friday, it could well return with Diwali just round the corner. Delhi Chief Minister Dikshit has already appealed to the citizens to avoid bursting fire-crackers during the festival next week.
The gravity of the situation came to the fore when even the Supreme Court expressed concern over the rising pollution and smog in the national capital. “We are concerned with the level of smog in the city. Every day we are hearing about the rising level of pollution in the city. We will deal with the matter,” a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir had said on Tuesday.
Smog is not an uncommon phenomenon for Delhi during winters, but it has hit sooner than expected this year and is more severe. Slow wind speed, low temperature and high humidity have further added to the thick haze cover.