AAP, BJP Trade Blames As Delhi Gets Most-Polluted Capital Tag

The IQAir report noted that India is home to 22 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities in the world.

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The Aam Aadmi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party, on Wednesday, 17 March, traded blames for mismanagement of the Union Territory’s pollution crisis.
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A day after a new report by IQAir, a Swiss group that measures air quality, named Delhi as the most polluted capital in the world, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on Wednesday, 17 March, traded blames for mismanagement of the pollution crisis.

WHAT BJP SAID

Delhi BJP spokespersons Harish Khurana and Praveen Shankar Kapoor addressed a press conference on Wednesday, alleging that the Arvind Kejriwal government had failed to utilise its environment budget during 2019-2021, reported PTI.

They recommended the AAP government to immediately form an expert committee to study and curb pollution as over 60% of the environment budget of 2020-21 alone was about to lapse, the report added.

“Delhi has turned into a gas chamber, but shockingly there is no study to scientifically enumerate the reasons of pollution in Delhi. Who is stopping the Kejriwal government to launch an effective anti-pollution campaign?” PTI quoted Khurana as asking.

He added that a recent report by Green Peace Asia suggested that Delhi pollution had claimed 54,000 lives and blamed it on the “incompetence of the incumbent Delhi government”.

Kapoor said that AAP leaders were deflecting the blame on the Centre instead of working on a holistic plan to combat pollution, the report said.

WHAT AAP SAID

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai defended the AAP government, noting that the ruling party had helped reduce pollution by up to 15% in the capital city. “We are increasing the green belt. We also brought in a progressive electric vehicle policy and are working towards making Delhi more environment-friendly,” Rai told PTI.

Rai, however, blamed the Centre saying, “It allowed the Commission for Air Quality Management to lapse, and until the Centre gets serious about combatting pollution, nothing can be done,” added the report.

The issue of stubble burning remained unaddressed by the Commission despite the it being raised in a petition by the AAP government. Rai also insinuated that the Centre had not done its part in shutting down the polluting thermal power plants or brick kilns. “The result is for all to see,” he said, according to the PTI report.

THE IQAIR REPORT

According to the IQAir report, India is home to 22 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities, with Delhi being the most polluted capital.

However, the report revealed that Delhi’s air quality had increased by 15 percent from 2019 to 2020 during the lockdown period. All Indian cities showed air quality improvements in 2020, owing to the pandemic-induced lockdown restrictions.

South Asia is one of the most polluted regions of the world, with Bangladesh, India and Pakistan sharing 42 of the 50 most polluted cities, the report stated.

(With inputs from PTI)

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