air pollution Current Affairs
Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched Harit Diwali-Swasth Diwali campaign aimed to reduce adverse environmental conditions especially pollution in the country after post Diwali celebrations due to excessive bursting of crackers which contributes significantly to air and noise pollution.
Harit Diwali-Swasth Diwali campaign
This campaign was initiated in 2017-18 to enlighten children about harmful fire crackers and motivate them to celebrate Diwali in environment-friendly manner and not to buy fire crackers, instead buy gift, food items, or sweets for poor and underprivileged children living in their locality.
Under this campaign, the MoEFCC will undertake various activities for creating awareness among various stakeholders and encourage people to participate in combating air pollution. This campaign was extremely successful and the air quality had not deteriorated post Diwali in 2017 unlike what was experienced in 2016.
2018 Campaign: Following its earlier precedence, MOEFCC has initiated similar campaign, but has extended pan-India. It also merged this year’s campaign with “Green Good Deed” movement that has been initiated as social mobilization for conservation and protection of environment. All schools and colleges have been encouraged to be part of this campaign.
Air pollution is serious health issue in the country especially in northern parts during winter seasons. The air pollution in northern region is mainly due to dust, burning of kharif crop residue on large scale in certain states, burning of garbage, construction activities and prevailing climatic conditions. This air pollution has serious impacts on health of children aged people and people suffering from respiratory ailments. Diwali festival also falls during same period and as matter of traditional practice people have been celebrating this festival by bursting crackers. Crackers contains combustible chemicals that include potassium chlorate powdered magnesium, aluminum, salts of barium, copper, sodium, lithium, strontium etc. and emits hazardous smoke of these chemicals along with sound. This smoke and sound has health impacts on children, aged people and also animal and birds. Apart from hazardous smoke, large amount of waste is also generated after bursting of crackers. Thus, keeping in view the above detrimental effects and and importance of the festival, MoEFCC had initiated a Harit–Diwali campaign.
Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has reconstituted Supreme Court-empowered Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA). This comes after tenure of the last EPCA expired on October 3, 2018.
Former IAS officers Bhure Lal will continue to be Chairman of reconstituted EPCA. The other members of the 20-member re-constituted EPCA include Ajay Mathur, Director General of The Energy Research Institute (TERI); Arunabha Ghosh, Chief Executive Officer of Centre for Energy Environment and Water; Navroz K. Dubash, Senior Fellow for the Centre for Policy Research. Others members include Vishnu Mathur, Director General, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers; Krishna Dhawan, Chief Executive Officer, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, New Delhi and Arvind Kumar, former professor of surgery, AIIMS in New Delhi and among others.
Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA)
EPCA is Supreme Court mandated body tasked with taking various measures to tackle air pollution in the National Capital Region. It was notified in 1998 by Environment Ministry under Environment Protection Act, 1986. Its mandate is to protect and improve quality of environment and prevent and control environmental pollution in National Capital Region. It is also mandated to enforce Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in NCR as per the pollution levels. In November 2017, EPCA had enforced several measures, including ban on brick kilns, closure of Badarpur thermal power plant, hot mix plants and stone crushers, and construction activities in NCR.