An emergency action plan to tackle poor air quality in Delhi came into force on Monday. This will start with a ban on diesel generator sets in the national capital, reported the Hindustan Times. Measures that will also cover surrounding parts of the National Capital Region include mechanised sweeping of roads and deployment of traffic police to ensure smooth passage of traffic in vulnerable areas, according to PTI.
The measures are part of the Graded Response Action Plan, which was put in place in 2017 on the directions of the Supreme Court after high pollution levels in the National Capital Region in the winter of 2016.
The implementation of the plan will continue till March, Sunita Narain, a member of the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, told the Hindustan Times. The panel is authorised to implement the response plan.
“With GRAP being rolled out from Monday, there will be a ban on diesel generator sets in Delhi,” Narain was quoted as saying. “DG [diesel generator] sets will, however, be allowed to operate in NCR towns because it would be impractical to ban them outside the national capital, where there is still a problem of power supply.”
According to the plan, relevant authorities must stop the use of diesel generator sets, increase parking fees by three to four times, increase bus and metro services and stop the use of coal and firewood at hotels and eateries when the air quality becomes “very poor”. More measures are likely to be implemented in coming days.
The air quality has been “poor” recently, but authorities predicted it will deteriorate in the next couple of days, PTI reported. On Monday afternoon, the air quality in Delhi deteriorated to “very poor”, with the concentration of pollutant PM2.5 at 122.1 micrograms per cubic metre and that of PM10 at 275.2 micrograms per cubic metre, according to the Central Pollution Control Board.
When the air quality becomes “severe”, additional measures to be implemented according to the plan include increasing the frequency of mechanised cleaning of roads, sprinkling of water on roads and identifying road stretches with high dust generation.
If the air quality falls under “severe plus emergency” category, measures include stopping entry of trucks into Delhi, except those with essential commodities, halting construction, and appointment of task force to take a decision on any additional steps, including shutting of schools, according to PTI.
On Sunday, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation asked the state-run construction company NBCC to “immediately halt” all construction and demolition activities at its project site at Pragati Maidan, PTI reported. The civic body said it had taken several measures to tackle the deteriorating air quality.
The Central Pollution Control Board has deployed 41 teams across the National Capital Region to monitor the implementation of norms. As many as 96 inspections have been conducted by the teams till October 11, an unidentified official told PTI.