The National Capital Region (NCR) has been grappling with severe air pollution issues, and several factors contribute to this environmental challenge. Among the primary drivers of air pollution in the region are high levels of anthropogenic activities in densely populated areas. Various sectors are responsible for emitting harmful pollutants into the air, exacerbating the air quality crisis.
The major contributors to air pollution in the NCR include vehicular pollution, industrial emissions, dust from roads and open areas, construction and demolition projects, biomass burning, agricultural stubble burning, municipal solid waste burning, fires in sanitary landfills, and air pollution from dispersed sources like firecrackers.
To address the concerning issue of stubble burning, the Governments of Haryana and Punjab have taken action by lodging FIRs (First Information Reports) and imposing environment compensation against instances of paddy straw burning. These steps have been essential in holding accountable those responsible for contributing to air pollution through this harmful agricultural practice.
To combat stubble burning and promote more sustainable crop residue management, the government has explored policy interventions that encourage environmentally sound practices. This includes the use of crop residue as supplementary fuel, offering additional sources of income to farmers, improving air quality, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating employment opportunities.
In response to the pollution caused by roads, Delhi has established eleven ‘dust control and management cells’ to take proactive measures. These cells focus on optimizing the utilization of road sweeping machines, ensuring the proper disposal of collected dust, sprinkling water and dust suppressants on roads and right of ways, enhancing sweeping and sprinkling capabilities, maintaining roads to be pothole-free, supporting mechanized sweeping through proper road-laying, paving non-paved road sides, implementing green initiatives such as planting trees and greening central verges, constructing cemented roads in industrial areas, identifying hot spots and implementing specific road dust control measures.