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Diplomats seek action from govt to check pollution

The Dean of Diplomatic Corps, Frank Hans Dannenberg Castellanos, on Friday raised the issue of Delhi air pollution with MEA, saying that the Indian government needed to act on it for the sake of not just diplomats but all 22 million residents of the city. TOI had reported on Friday that Castellanos had sought time to discuss the issue with the foreign ministry after heads of many missions in Delhi approached him with concerns over the deteriorating air quality.

Castellanos said in an official statement he met MEA’s Chief of Protocol Sanjay Verma over the issue. “He has taken note of the concerns of diplomats assigned to Delhi and their families over the current environmental condition in our city,” said Castellanos in a statement.

“The diplomatic community had asked us to share some of our concerns with officials of MEA about air pollution in New Delhi and how it is affecting the inflow of tourism from some of our countries and daily operations of some of our missions. However, this is an issue that affects the 22 million people living in New Delhi and that the issue needs to be addressed for the better future of all the people who live in the city and not only for the diplomatic community. We all breathe the same air,” Castellanos said further.

While Castellanos tempered his statement with concern over the plight of the ordinary residents of Delhi, the fact that the diplomats were forced to approach the MEA is likely to leave many in the government red-faced with the city still struggling to keep toxic air at bay.

In the meeting, Castellanos said, both he and Verma expressed hope that the “outcome of the efforts of both central and local government will bring rapid and positive results” for the people of this “very active, energetic and busy city”.

According to Castellanos, Verma told him in the meeting that the unusual deterioration in the quality of air was a product of multiple causes, most of which were indeed domestic, but which had also been aggravated by a dust storm “from a distant geography”.

“The simultaneous aggregation of these cases has led to an environmental challenge, which the government of India is determined to address and ameliorate,” Verma told Castellanos.

Verma assured Castellanos that the matter was being given “top priority” by the Indian government and that these challenges were products of rapid economic growth and development which were known to have affected several countries.

Castellanos had told TOI on Thursday that he had been receiving many calls from HOMs (heads of missions) concerned about their health and that he was going to bring it up before the COP (chief of protocol in MEA) in his next meeting with him.

In a personal blog post on Tuesday, Costa Roca ambassador to India Mariela Cruz Alvarez had said, “This past week the levels of pollution in Delhi reached impossible numbers. I had no idea about the consequences of breathing this air until I reached Bangalore and my system collapsed.”

Source : timesofindia

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Diplomats seek action from govt to check pollution


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