The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority on Tuesday said it would ban private vehicles from plying in Delhi from November 1 if the air quality gets worse, ANI reported.
“Let us hope the Delhi air pollution situation doesn’t deteriorate or else we will have to stop plying of private vehicles, only public transport will be used,” said EPCA Chairman Bhure Lal.
But the Graded Response Action Plan, put in place last year on the directions of the Supreme Court after high pollution levels in 2016, does not include a provision to ban all private vehicles in the city. A few of the measures to arrest pollution include introducing the odd-even scheme for private vehicles, increasing the parking fee by three to four times, and augmenting bus and metro services.
The air quality in Delhi fell to the “severe” category for the first time this season on Tuesday, PTI reported. The overall Air Quality Index reading for the city was 410 at 4.30 pm, according to data from the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research. An index value between 301 and 400 is considered “very poor” and it is “severe” between 401 and 500.
According to data from the Central Pollution Control Board, 18 pollution monitoring stations recorded an AQI above 400. These were Anand Vihar, Ashok Vihar, Bawana, Mathura Road, DTU, Dwarka Sector 8, Jahangirpuri, Mandir Marg, Mundaka, Narela, Nehru Nagar, North Campus, Punjabi Bagh, RK Puram, Rohini, Sonia Vihar, Vivek Vihar and Wazirpur.
According to SAFAR, the decline in air quality was caused by intensive stubble burning in the last 24 hours, aided by calm winds. Unidentified officials at the agency said close to 28% of the pollution by PM2.5 (presence of particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) on Tuesday was caused by regional factors such as stubble burning.
Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology used satellite images to identify several biomass fire spots in Punjab and Haryana. The fire spots are attributed to farmers burning stubble in the region.
On Monday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal once again blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre as well as the governments of Punjab and Haryana for the Capital’s declining air quality.
“The pollution was in control in Delhi throughout the year, but this time [winters] every year, Delhi has to face severe pollution condition due to the Centre, BJP-led Haryana and Congress-led Punjab governments,” Kejriwal claimed.