On World Environment Day 2022, 1 in 3 residents of Delhi optimistic that Delhi-Punjab State Government can work together to find solutions to toxic air; want action to begin immediately
- ● Delhiites say that to reduce pollution this winter, detailed plans are needed to drive Punjab stubble burning to near-zero levels, along with plans for reduced vehicular movement & mechanisation of street and road cleaning
June 4, 2022, New Delhi: The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Admi Party was voted to power in Punjab in March this year, creating history. Under the leadership of Bhagwant Mann, the party showcased the school and health model of Delhi in its election manifesto and promised jobs, education, health, freedom from the drug menace, agricultural reforms, and free electricity, among others.
Meanwhile, residents in Delhi have pinned high hopes that with Kejriwal-led AAP party now in power in Punjab will work with the Delhi Government to address the key issue of stubble burning, which is one of the key contributors to air pollution in Delhi in the months of October and November. Other causes include vehicular traffic, road dust, garbage burning and construction-related pollution. Delhi has been experiencing toxic air for almost 8 years. Experts who have studied this closely root cause it as a water and power allocation issue which impacts crop harvesting times leaving very little time for the farmers to clear up their fields for the next crop in November. Many resorts to stubble burning to clear their fields. In the months of Oct-Dec in 2021, there were over 45 days of severe air quality in Delhi with atleast 15 days when the AQI was above 500. Many residents of Delhi, especially those who were asthmatic or had recovered from COVID faced an even more difficult time breathing. Pollution-related ailments, including cough, congestion, and burning eyes impacted many, with 44% of residents of Delhi-NCR in a LocalCircles survey admitting that they or their family member visited a doctor or hospital due to pollution-related ailments for the treatment.
With the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP party now running both Delhi and Punjab, LocalCircles on the occasion of World Environment Day 2022 has conducted a survey to gauge Delhi residents’ optimism if the air pollution issue in Delhi will now be eased and how the situation can be improved. This exercise enables both the broader citizenry and the Kejriwal-led Punjab Government to understand what residents of Delhi want over the issue of pollution, particularly related to stubble burning in Punjab. The survey received more than 33,000 responses from people residing across all 11 districts of Delhi. 64% of the respondents were men while 36% were women.
1 in 3 Delhiites optimistic that with AAP now in power in Punjab, the air pollution issue of Delhi will now be resolved
Delhi witnesses high air pollution throughout the year which becomes extreme in late October and during November and stubble burning in neighbouring states serves as a key contributor to the toxic air of Delhi. Citizens complain of respiratory issues with hospitals experiencing a higher rate of incoming patients affected by pollution. Delhi Government has historically attributed high air pollution levels to farm stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. During the winter season of 2021, Delhi experienced over 45 severe air days way past the stubble burning period into early January.
The first question in the survey asked residents of Delhi, “With AAP Government now in Punjab, do you feel optimistic that the toxic air or pollution issue of Delhi will now find resolution?” In response, the majority, 54% of residents said “No”. Only 32% said “Yes” while 14% did not have an opinion. 1 in 3 Delhiites feel optimistic that with AAP now in power in Punjab, the air pollution issue of Delhi will now be resolved however the rest of them are not so confident that the issue will be resolved. This question in the survey received 11, 542 responses.
According to Delhiites, stubble burning is the top cause of air pollution in Delhi every winter, followed by vehicular emissions, road/construction dust & waste burning
The following question in the survey asked residents of Delhi, “What all according to you are the key causes of toxic air pollution in Delhi during October-December each year?” In response, the majority, 69% of residents said “Stubble burning by farmers in Punjab, Haryana, UP”. Breaking down the poll, 54% said “Motor vehicle emissions in Delhi”, another 54% said “Road and construction dust in Delhi”, 35% said “Waste burning in Delhi”, 23% said “Diesel generator emissions in Delhi”, and 15% said “industrial and power plant emissions in Delhi”. On an aggregate basis, Delhiites attribute stubble burning as the top cause of air pollution in Delhi every winter, followed by vehicular emissions, road/construction dust, and waste burning. This question in the survey received 10,472 responses.
Besides, stubble burning, experts have attributed the high winter pollution levels in Delhi due to vehicular pollution, pollution caused due to garbage burning and other local reasons like construction, road dust, etc.
According to Delhiites, in order to reduce pollution this winter, detailed plans are needed to drive Punjab stubble burning to near-zero levels, along with plans for reduced vehicular movement and mechanisation of street and road cleaning
The final question in the survey asked Delih residents, “What all initiatives should be put in place immediately to significantly reduce air pollution in Delhi during Oct-Dec 2022?” In response, 71% said “Detailed plan to drive burning in Punjab to near-zero levels”, 52% said “Plan to reduce vehicles on Delhi roads by 50% during Oct-Dec” , 43% said “Waste management and anti-waste burning enforcement plan to drive near-zero waste burning,” 57% said “mandatory mechanised road and street cleaning by October to minimise the spread of dust.” 33% said “Mandatory covering of all construction sites each year during Oct-Dec”, and 10% cited “Other initiatives”. On an aggregate basis, Delhiites say that in order to reduce pollution this winter across the city, detailed plans are needed to drive Punjab stubble burning to near-zero levels, along with plans for reduced vehicular movement and mechanisation of street and road cleaning. This question in the survey received 11,297 responses.
In summary, 1 in 3 Delhiites feel optimistic that with Arvind Keriwal-led Aam Admi Party in power in both Delhi and Punjab, the air pollution issue of Delhi will find some resolution. Delhiites believe that stubble burning is the top cause of air pollution in Delhi every winter, followed by vehicular emissions, road/construction dust & waste burning. Residents of Delhi demand that in order to reduce pollution this winter, detailed plans are needed to drive stubble burning in Punjab to near-zero levels, along with plans for reduced vehicular movement and mechanisation of street and road cleaning.
LocalCircles will escalate the findings of the survey with the Delhi and Punjab State Governments to ensure public feedback is considered and actions are taken immediately. October is only 5 months away and unless actions are taken now, Delhiites will again end up breathing toxic air this coming winter.
33,000 responses were received from people residing across all 11 districts of Delhi. 67% of the respondents were men while 33% were women. The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants were validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.