Graded Response I imposed in Delhi NCR to Curb Air Pollution
The air quality in Delhi has been manageable in the summer months. With the winters now setting in, Delhi recorded the daily average air quality index (AQI) of 177 on 5 October 2023. With this, the air quality of Delhi surpassed the Moderate category and entered into the Poor category. As per the Daily AQI Bulletin of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) CPCB, Delhi’s average AQI was found to be 212 at 4.00 pm on 6 October 2023.
Since 2017, a graded response action plan (GRAP) is underway to control air pollution in Delhi. GRAP divides the AQI into categories and based on each category, necessary restrictions are imposed in Delhi NCR to check increasing air pollution. Starting 6 October 2023, GRAP Stage-I has been imposed in the entire NCR. GRAP Stage-I is imposed when the daily average AQI of Delhi crosses 201. This makes it mandatory for concerned agencies to implement the actions under GRAP Stage-I to protect the citizens of Delhi from air pollution.
Following 27-point action plan as per Stage-I of GRAP is applicable with immediate effect from 6 October 2023 in Delhi NCR until the air quality of Delhi NCT improves.
- Ensure proper implementation of directions/ guidelines on dust mitigation measures in Construction and Demolition (C&D) activities and sound environmental management of C&D waste.
- Ensure strict compliance of Direction Nos. 11-18 dated 11.06.2021 not to permit C&D activities in respect of such projects with plot size equal to or more than 500 sq. m which are not registered on the web portal of respective state/ GNCTD, for remote monitoring of dust mitigation measures.
- Ensure regular lifting of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), C&D waste, and Hazardous wastes from dedicated dump sites and ensure that no waste is dumped illegally in open land areas.
- Carry out periodic mechanized sweeping and water sprinkling on roads and ensure scientific disposal of the dust collected in designated sites/ landfills.
- Ensure C&D materials & waste are properly stored/ contained, duly covered in the premises. Ensure transportation of C&D waste in covered vehicles and its recycling at an appropriate processing facility.
- Strictly enforce directions and yardsticks for use of anti-smog guns at C&D sites.
- Intensify use of anti-smog guns, water sprinkling and dust suppression measures in road construction/ maintenance/ repair projects.
- Stringently enforce prohibition on open burning of biomass and municipal solid waste. Impose maximum EC upon violations in accordance with Hon’ble NGT’s orders dated 04.12.2014 and 28.04.2015 in OA 21/2014.
- Strict vigil to ensure that there are no burning incidents in the landfill sites/ dumpsites.
- Deploy traffic police for smooth traffic flow at all identified corridors with heavy traffic and congestion prone intersections.
- Strict vigilance and enforcement of PUC norms for vehicles.
- No tolerance for visible emissions – stop visibly polluting vehicles by impounding and/ or levying maximum penalty.
- Strictly enforce the Hon’ble Supreme Court order on diversion of non-destined truck traffic for Delhi, through Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways.
- Strictly enforce NGT/ Hon’ble SC’s order on overaged diesel/ petrol vehicles and as per extant statutes.
- Ensure strict penal/ legal action against non-compliant and illegal industrial units.
- Stringently enforce all pollution control regulations in industries, brick kilns and hot mix plants etc. – strict compliance of the prescribed standards of emissions.
- Ensure that only approved fuels are used by the industries in NCR including in brick kilns and hot mix plants and enforce closure in case of violations, if any.
- Stringently enforce emission norms in thermal power plants and strict actions be taken against non-compliance.
- Strictly enforce Hon’ble Courts/ Tribunal orders regarding ban on firecrackers.
- Ensure regular lifting and proper disposal of industrial waste from industrial and non-development areas.
- DISCOMS to minimize power supply interruptions in NCR.
- Ensure diesel generator sets are not used as regular source of power supply.
- Enforce complete ban on coal/ firewood in tandoors in hotels, restaurants and open eateries.
- Ensure hotels, restaurants and open eateries use only electricity/ clean fuel gas-based appliances.
- Information dissemination including through social media and bulk SMS etc. Mobile Apps to be used to inform people about pollution levels, contact details of control room, enable them to report polluting activities/ sources to the concerned authorities and inform them about actions that would be taken by Government.
- Ensure quick actions for redressal of complaints on 311 App, Green Delhi App, SAMEER App and other such social media platforms to curb polluting activities.
- Encourage offices to start unified commute for employees to reduce traffic on road.
Citizens also need to play their part. As per the citizen charter of Stage I of GRAP, all citizens are advised to:
- Keep engines of vehicles properly tuned
- Maintain proper tyre pressure in vehicles
- Keep PUC certificates of vehicles up to date
- Not idle vehicle, and turn off the engine at red lights
- Prefer hybrid vehicles or EVs to control vehicular pollution
- Not litter/ dispose wastes, garbage in open spaces
- Report air polluting activities through 311 App, Green Delhi App or SAIVIEER App
- Plant more trees
- Celebrate festivals in an eco-friendly manner; avoid firecrackers
- Not drive older than 10 or 15 years old diesel and petrol vehicles respectively
In addition, it is advisable for citizens to stay indoors, wear face mask and protect themselves from being exposed to air pollution. GRAP is monitored by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in NCR and adjoining areas.
Top image by Ninara via Flickr over Creative Commons BY 2.0