Every year, like clockwork, the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) is blanketed in smog in the winter months and the Air Quality Index (AQI) levels in different parts of the capital spike through the roof.
This year, despite there being strict enforcement on bursting crackers, Delhi woke up to a thick smog the day after Diwali and the AQI remained at a “severe” level for days till 14 November when it reduced to “very poor”.
Even the Supreme Court (SC) had to step in and pull up the Delhi government. A three-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice NV Ramana, sought to know what measures the Union and the Delhi government were taking to control pollution. The SC also contemplated measures like placing the entire city under a lockdown or an odd-even system of managing vehicular traffic. But how significant are these band-aid-like measures?
And fingers, of course, were also pointed towards stubble burning in the Punjab and Haryana. However, this time, the tables turned as contribution of stubble burnings to Delhi’s pollution was reportedly only 10 percent. But can we always place the blame on farmers when it comes to air pollution in the capital? Is there a win-win solution for all parties?
To discuss Delhi’s air pollution crisis and the measures suggested by the SC, for today’s episode we spoke to Santosh Harish, a fellow at the Centre for Policy Research focusing on energy and environment issues.