Delhi Air Pollution: Emergency measures initiated as air quality on brink of turning 'severe'
Taking cognisance of the rising pollution levels in the national capital and its surrounding regions, emergency measures to check pollution came into force from Thursday in Delhi-NCR. Under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), state pollution control bodies have been directed to initiate criminal prosecution against violators, while the Delhi government said it was fully prepared to implement the odd-even scheme to regulate private vehicles when needed even as it urges the people to use the public transport for the next 10 days when the air quality is likely to deteriorate further.
According to the Air Quality Index (AQI) data, major pollutant PM 10 was detected at 283 (poor category) and PM 2.5 was detected at 214 (poor category) in the Lodhi Road area on Thursday morning. A day after the air quality slipped into 'severe' category, there was a marginal dip in pollution level due to increased wind speed but the air quality still remained 'very poor' on Wednesday.
Delhi: Early morning visuals from the area near Rajpath. pic.twitter.com/uqQmjmEKvc— ANI (@ANI) November 1, 2018
Air Quality Index (AQI) categories:
AQI of 0-50 is considered good
AQI of 51-100 is satisfactory
AQI of 101-200 is considered moderate
AQI of 201-300 is graded poor
AQI of 301-400 is very poor
AQI of 401 and 500 is severe
The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), which has restricted several activities like construction from November 1.
Noting that private vehicles contribute to 40 per cent pollution in Delhi-NCR, the EPCA urged people to reduce use of private vehicles and completely stop plying diesel vehicles during this period. There are a total of 35 lakh private vehicles in the Delhi NCR region. The Supreme Court had also banned the plying of petrol vehicles as old as 10 years and diesel as old as 15 years to contain vehicular pollution. Last week, the apex court had also ruled that people in Delhi-NCr can burst "green" firecrackers only from 8 pm to 10 pm only on Diwali.
An EPCA member had on Tuesday said in case of further deterioration of air quality, they are even contemplating regulating the use of private vehicles from November 1. On its part, the Delhi government on Wednesday said it is "fully prepared" to implement the emergency plan.
GRAP, which was notified last year, will be implemented between October 15 and March 15. The measures are suggested to reduce — PM 2.5 and PM 10 — the major pollutants in Delhi NCR, which can have an adverse effect on public health. Currently, the AQI in Delhi-NCR is in the “unhealthy” to “poor category”, however, according to authorities, pollution levels may increase in the coming days.
What is GRAP?
Graded Response Action Plan or GRAP are actions that are taken once the pollution level reaches a certain specified limit. Under GRAP, a pollution emergency is declared when PM10 breaches 500 ug/m3.
Who determines the pollution level?
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had deployed 41 teams across Delhi-NCR to monitor the proper implementation of norms enforced to curb 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. The inspections were started by the two-member team on September 15, a CPCB official said.
What measures will be implemented under GRAP?