The Delhi Pollution Control Committee on Tuesday banned the use of electricity generator sets of all capacities – whether running on diesel, petrol or kerosene – from Wednesday. Such generators can only be used in essential or emergency services, it said. It issued the prohibition based on the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, according to a press release.

The committee defined essential or emergency services as medical services, use of elevators or escalators, railway services, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation services, airport and interstate bus terminal services and the Data Center run by the National Information Centre.

The committee said that the whole of the Union Territory of Delhi has been declared as an Air Pollution Control Area. It said Delhi faces grave air pollution during winters, and the levels of pollutants like PM 2.5 and PM 10 cross the prescribed standards for ambient air quality. It said operation of electricity generator sets running on petrol, diesel and kerosene has been identified as one of the sources of air pollution in the national Capital.

The committee said it was preparing a comprehensive plan for the prevention, control and abatement of air pollution. It also said that the National Green Tribunal has directed the Delhi government and the panel to take steps to curb air pollution.

The committee also mentioned the Graded Response Action Plan notified by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change for implementation through the Environmental Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee said that in its meeting on October 8, the EPCA directed that measures under the very poor and severe category of air pollution will be implemented in the national Capital from October 15. A Central Pollution Control Board-led task force will review the situation frequently and take additional measures if required.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board, the Air Quality Index in Delhi at 3 pm was 275, in the “poor” category.

Delhi’s air quality on Tuesday deteriorated to the “very poor” category for the first time this season. Government-run monitoring agency System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, or SAFAR, said the air quality index was not likely to improve for the next two days.

Air pollution typically worsens during the winter months from October to December. It was in the “poor category” for six consecutive days after it began to decline on October 7 for the first time in over three months.

The Graded Response Action Plan also recommends sprinkling water on roads, frequent cleaning of roads, maximising the use of natural gas for power generation and shutting down stone crushers, brick kilns and hot mix plants when the air quality enters the extreme category.

On October 6, the Supreme Court said it will look into suggestions of withholding a portion of Minimum Support Price from farmers till it is confirmed that they are not indulging in stubble burning. The court was hearing a public interest litigation on air pollution in Delhi-NCR. The court also issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests as well as the governments of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi in the matter.