Emergency plan to combat air pollution rolled out in Delhi-NCR



An emergency plan to combat air pollution came into force Monday which will include measures like mechanised sweeping of roads and deployment of traffic police to ensure smooth passage of traffic at vulnerable areas in Delhi-NCR region, authorities said.

Use of gensets have been banned under the Graded Response Action Plan but will not be banned in NCR because of power supply situation in the area, said Anumita Roychowdhury, a member of the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority.

The plan has been implemented to combat air pollution that has begun to show a trend towards very poor category.

Under the emergency plan, stringent actions are implemented based on the air quality of the city.

Currently, the air quality lies in the poor category due to which measures like mechanised sweeping of roads, ban on garbage burning, pollution control measures at brick kilns and deployment of police to ensure smooth passage of traffic at vulnerable areas are in force in the Delhi NCR region.

If the air quality deteriorates further to very poor category then in addition measures like enhancing parking fees 3-4 times and increasing frequency of metro and buses would be implemented, an official with the Central Pollution Control Board said.

If the air quality falls in the severe category, additional measures would be implemented like increasing frequency of sprinkling of water on roads and identifying road stretches with high dust generation.

If the air quality falls to severe plus emergency category, then measures like stopping entry of trucks into Delhi (except essential commodities), stopping construction activities and appointment of task force to take decision on any additional steps, including shutting of schools, are implemented.

The measures depending upon the air quality will be implemented from Monday.

In addition to GRAP, the CPCB has also deployed 41 teams across the Delhi NCR to monitor proper implementation of norms enforced to prevent pollution at the source.

Till October 11, 96 inspections were conducted by the teams across Delhi NCR and the inspections would intensify in the coming days, a senior CPCB official said.

The inspections was started by the two-member team on September 15, he added.

Meanwhile, satellite images from the NASA showed rampant stubble burning activity in Punjab and Haryana.

The NASA, on its official website, stated that burning of crop residue in Punjab and Haryana has increased significantly over the past 10 days in and near Amritsar, Ambala, Karnal, Sirsa and Hisar.

Burning of paddy straw every year during October and November and wheat straw during April in Punjab and Haryana are the major contributors of air pollution in Delhi-NCR, as the smoke travels towards the national capital.

In Delhi, it mixes with fog and creates a toxic smoggy winter every year.

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