Terming fresh air the “birth right” of every citizen, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday admitted that particulate matter pollution in Delhi and its neighbouring towns was rising.
Javadekar told Rajya Sabha during question hour that the levels of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen were in control during 2011-13, but particulate matter of less than 10 microns known as PM10 has shot up in the period.
“As per the analysis of data for last three years (2011-13), the levels of Sulphur dioxide (annual averages of 50ug/m3) and nitrogen (annual averages of 40 ug/m3) were within norms. However, PM10 has exceeded the prescribed norms in all six cities," the minister said.
Days after putting in place a uniform air quality monitoring system, the minister said the laboratories of Delhi Pollution Control Committee and the Central Pollution Control Board (CBCB) are adequately equipped to monitor emissions from industries.
Clean air activists have asked the government to make their intent clear behind "re-evaluating" the pollution data before making it public.
The minister, however, assured that efforts were on to clean Delhi’s air saying “fresh air is birth right” and the government was committed to it.
Some of the steps outlined by him during question hour in the upper house included checking vehicular pollution, mechanical sweeping of roads to deal with dust and stress on battery-operated vehicles.
He, however, rejected any proposition of seeking external help for air pollution monitoring and said there was no such proposal pending with the government.
While more air monitoring stations would be set up across the country, cumulative air quality index would also be launched to create awareness about air pollution, he said.