Steps mooted to curb pollution in Delhi for U17 World Cup

NEW DELHI: Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan has asked the states in the National Capital Region to take all possible measures to prevent a spike in air pollution levels during the upcoming U-17 FIFA World Cup in Delhi.

At a review meeting on Tuesday, Vardhan told officials of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab to deal with the issue of biomass burning during the winters, the main cause of the spike in air pollution levels. The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority had also directed the authorities concerned to take all possible preventive measures to arrest any spike in pollution.

"We told them that this year is all the more important as the world cup is taking place in Delhi and if there is any situation where pollution levels shoot up, it will be embarrassing for the country. It can have an international impact," Vardhan told reporters. "We require thorough coordination amongst the neighbouring states and a multi-pronged approach where the sources of pollution are dealt with from all angles," Vardhan said.

Delhi is one of the six host cities of the FIFA U 17 World Cup to be held this October. The 24-team tournament will have eight matches in Delhi Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium between October 6 and 16, when stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana and Diwali fireworks push up pollution levels in the city to alarming levels.