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Delhi braces for deteriorating air quality; GRAP rolls out today

GRAP measures include increasing bus and metro services, hiking parking fees and stopping use of diesel gen-sets when the air quality turns "poor"

October 15, 2019 / 07:47 AM IST
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The Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to curb air pollution in Delhi-NCR comes into force on October 15.

The plan includes proactively rolling out stricter measures depending on the situation to discourage private vehicles on roads, stop use of diesel generators, close brick kilns and stone crushers.

The air quality in Delhi has begun deteriorating ahead of the winter season. On October 13, it turned "very poor" with the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) going beyond 300 mark.

On October 14, it improved by around 50 points but the situation has continued to oscillate between poor and very poor for the last 24 hours.

According to news agency ANI, major pollutants PM 2.5 were recorded at 214 and PM 10 at 211, both in 'Poor' category at Lodhi Road area, on October 15.

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Biomass burning is likely to contribute 9 per ent to Delhi's PM2.5 concentration on October 15, the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) said.

Prepared by the Central Pollution Control Board and first implemented in Delhi-NCR in 2017, the GRAP lists measures to curb air pollution according to the severity of the situation.

This year, GRAP will witness the return of the Delhi government's odd-even car rationing scheme from November 4 and the extension of the ban on diesel gen-sets to NCR cities of Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Faridabad, Sonepat, Panipat and Bahadurgarh.

GRAP measures include increasing bus and metro services, hiking parking fees and stopping use of diesel gen-sets when the air quality turns "poor".

When it turns "severe", GRAP recommends closure of brick kilns, stone crushers and hot mix plants, sprinkling of water, frequent mechanised cleaning of roads and maximising power generation from natural gas.

The measures to be followed in "emergency" situation include stopping entry of trucks in Delhi, ban on construction and introduction of the odd-even car rationing scheme.

The Supreme Court of India (SC)-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) and the Central Pollution Control Board have been proactive and conducted several meetings to ensure strict implementation of anti-pollution measures by each state.

EPCA chairman Bhure Lal has visited pollution hot spots in Delhi-NCR and and assessed preparedness for GRAP implementation. He has directed Delhi and the adjoining states to ensure pollution levels do not rise further even during adverse weather.

The Delhi Pollution Control Committee has started night patrolling and is penalising industries using non-PNG fuels and construction agencies for failing to prevent dust emission.

"Stubble burning in Haryana, Panjab, and nearby border regions is moderate, but the cyclonic circulation over northwest Uttar Pradesh and neighbourhood is going to impact the transport pathways and marginally improve Delhi's air quality," SAFAR said.

It said the wind direction is predicted to change to south-easterly for the next three days and positively influence Delhi's AQI. "Further deterioration in Delhi's AQI may start from the fourth week of October."

CPCB's former air lab chief Dipankar Saha said the current wind speed, which is less than 2.5 metres per second, is not favourable for dispersion of pollutants and dust concentration is likely to increase.

(With inputs from PTI)
Moneycontrol News
first published: Oct 15, 2019 07:36 am

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