New Delhi, Sept 29: With a WHO report ranking Delhi among most polluted cities in the world, the AAP government today decided to initiate steps, including awareness drives against burning Chinese fire crackers, dry leaves and waste in open, to check air and noise pollution ahead of Diwali season.
Environment minister Imran Hussain held a meeting with officials of Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), Environment Department and Forest Department following the directions from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on the matter.
He said an awareness campaign will soon be launched to highlight the extreme impact of fire crackers on the air quality during the Diwali season. The government will take action against the sale and use of Chinese crackers, the minister said.
According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, based on data collected between 2008 and 2013, New Delhi was placed 11th most-polluted city in the world.
"Chinese crackers are a health and safety hazard. The use of Chinese crackers increases manifold in the festive season and is a major source of air and noise pollution, causing respiratory problems particularly among the elderly and children," Hussain said.
The minister directed the department to hold regular meetings with land-owning agencies, including municipal bodies, for review of action taken against those indulged in burning of dry leaves, waste and plastic material in open.
He said the violators of dust control norms -- the owners, builders and vehicles -- should be effectively punished so that the air quality can be improved.
The minister said there is an "urgent and pressing need" for effectively managing and controlling air pollution.
With the onset of the winter season the lower layers of atmosphere get cooler and consequently, one sees rise in air pollution in the city.
Furthermore the air pollution gets aggravated due to burning of crop residues in the neighbouring states and that the situation worsens on the eve of Diwali festival with the bursting of fire crackers which also adds to heightened levels of noise pollution causing health related problems especially to senior citizens and children.