‘Banning Firecrackers is Not the Answer to Delhi’s Pollution,’ Says UN Envoy
AP Photo/ Altaf QadriAsia & Pacific12:52 10.11.2017(updated 12:53 10.11.2017) Get short URL
The UN resident coordinator in India, Yuri Afanasiev, has called for an all-encompassing approach to deal with the alarming level of pollution in Delhi as city authorities take measures such as halting construction work and enforcing an “odd-even” traffic scheme after banning firecrackers during the recent festivals.
New Delhi (Sputnik) — As New Delhi is reeling under a heavy cloud of pollutants and with the city government resorting to measures like closing schools, a top-ranking UN official has advised India to look for long-term tangible measures to fight pollution in its capital city.
“Environmental situations such as the current Delhi smog cannot be tackled just by addressing the issue of the number of cars or banning firecrackers. There has to be an all-encompassing approach,” the UN resident coordinator in India, Yuri Afanasiev, said.
His comments come at a time when the apex court in India banned the sale of crackers during the recently concluded Hindu festival of Deepawali. The Delhi government is also considering reintroducing an “odd-even” scheme for cars in Delhi from Monday. According to the scheme, cars with registration numbers ending in an odd number would be allowed to ply on odd dates while even-numbered cars would ply on even dates. Sunday remains a free-for-all.
“There is the issue of farmers (stubble burning) and plant emissions. And, even if one talks about reducing the volume of cars in the streets, there has to be a discussion on the quality of cars, whether they have catalytic converters. It has to be a well-rounded approach,” Yuri Afanasiev added.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a two-day exhibition in New Delhi with schoolchildren on the theme “Transforming India.”
The UN envoy urged school children to act as “ambassadors of change by encouraging and exhorting their parents to talk about pollution and climate change.”
“Tell your parents there is a need to talk about pollution levels, as you have presented in your exhibits here,” he said, adding that behavioral changes were more effective in adults if brought about through children.
Pollution levels touched alarming levels on Wednesday forcing the Delhi government to close the city schools till Sunday and to release an advisory statement asking children and elderly people to stay at home and to avoid their morning walks and visits to the parks. Delhi has also halted all construction activity and has banned the entry of trucks through its border.