As citizens of Delhi continued to breathe in toxic air, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) engaged in a fierce war of words and traded blame with the BJP-led Centre over who bears responsibility for the air pollution in the national capital.
Delhi CM and Aam Aadmi Party supremo Arvind Kejriwal has rejected accusations that his party’s governments in Punjab and the Capital are not doing enough to fight pollution. Putting the onus on the Centre, Kejriwal said that entire North India is suffering due to pollution. However, he failed to answer as to why farm fires in Punjab have increased when in Haryana it has dropped by 30%. Kejriwal said that the Centre has been writing to Punjab CM demanding that FIRs be registered against farmers who are burning stubble.
On the other hand, Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav mounted a blistering attack on the AAP for turning the national capital into a “gas chamber”. He alleged that AAP-ruled Punjab has seen a 19 per cent rise in farm fires over 2021, which has sent air pollution levels in Delhi skyrocketing.
“As of today, Punjab, a state run by the AAP government, has seen an over 19% rise in farm fires over 2021. Haryana has seen a 30.6% drop. Just today, Punjab saw 3,634 fires. There is no doubt over who has turned Delhi into a gas chamber," Yadav said in a tweet.
The air quality index or AQI was 408 at 7 am as a result of farm fires in the neighbouring states and emissions from the smoke-belching vehicles. Besides these two factors, unfavourable meteorological conditions also serves as a key driver for pollution in the national capital.
As Delhi is forced to breathe the toxic air, several residents have reported difficulties and health issues, with the elderly and school-going children being the worst hit.
Medical experts say prolonged exposure to toxic air, especially during the morning hours when children leave for schools, can lead to serious health problems.