The Delhi government on Sunday announced the formation of 586 teams to ensure strict implementation of the ban on construction and demolition activities to prevent worsening of air quality in the city during the winter season, reported PTI.
On Sunday evening, Delhi’s air quality was in the “very poor” category, showed real-time data from the Ministry of Earth Sciences’ SAFAR, or System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Researchd.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board, the 24-hour average air quality index of Delhi was 352 on Sunday evening.
Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said on Sunday that the air quality index of the national capital might worsen to “severe” category from beginning of November.
To reduce air pollution in Delhi, the Commission for Air Quality Management has directed authorities in the National Capital Region to implement curbs, including a ban on construction and demolition activities, under stage three of the Graded Response Plan Action.
“We held a meeting with all construction agencies in the capital and government departments concerned, including PWD [Public Works Department], MCD [Municipal Corporation Delhi], Railways, DDA [Delhi Development Authority], Delhi Pollution Control Committee,” Rai said, according to PTI. “We have decided to implement the ban on construction and demolition activities in the city.”
To control the air pollution in the national capital, 521 water sprinklers, 223 anti-smog guns and 150 mobile anti-smog guns have been put into action, Rai said.
The ban on construction and demolition activities includes earthwork for excavation, boring and drilling, fabrication and welding operations, loading and unloading of construction material, transfer of raw material, either manually or through conveyor belts and vehicular movement on unpaved roads.
Rai’s press conference came days after many residents of the national capital defied a ban on firecrackers on Diwali. Delhi authorities in September had imposed a ban on sale, use and production of firecrackers till January 1 to prevent the city’s air quality from worsening in winter.
However, several other factors contribute towards Delhi’s air pollution issue.
Farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh burn the residue of their paddy harvest during this season since it is a cost-effective and time-saving measure to prepare the fields for the next sowing cycle. This results in increased levels of air pollution in large areas of North India.
Lower temperatures, wind speeds, and other factors such as industrial pollution add to the problem. Often, the air quality index drops around Diwali, when firecrackers are burst.