EPCA directs slew of measures as Delhi air turns noxious again

Diesel generator sets to be banned; construction and industrial projects asked to adhere strictly to norms

By Shagun
Published: Thursday 08 October 2020

The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) directed a slew of measures to governments in Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, after air quality in the national capital remained ‘poor’ for the second day October 8, 2020.

The measures come under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), an emergency plan to combat air pollution. It lists several measures depending on the category of air quality and will come into force from October 15.

The measures include banning the use of diesel generator sets (other than essential / emergency services) in Delhi and in its satellite towns of Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Faridabad and Gurugram.

EPCA, a Supreme Court-mandated body, has also asked large construction projects, including highways and the Delhi Metro to provide an undertaking to the state pollution control boards / committees. The undertaking will state that these project operators will assure adherence to prescribed norms / guidelines for dust management.

EPCA has also asked industries to provide an undertaking that they will use only authorised fuel and will not operate without adequate pollution control measures.

The air quality index (AQI) October 8 was 208, according to the Central Pollution Control Board’s bulletin. The AQI was based on an average of the past 24 hours.

An AQI from 0-50 is considered ‘good’, 51-100 ‘satisfactory’, 101-200 ‘moderate’, 201-300 ‘poor’, 301-400 ‘very poor’ and 401-500 ‘severe’. Above 500 is the ‘severe-plus or emergency’ category.

“The winter period sees worsening air quality because there is less dispersion and lower temperatures trap pollutants close to the ground. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the levels do not rise further, even with coming winter weather conditions in the days to come,” the EPCA said in its letter.

Additional steps will be taken if pollution turned severe, the letter added. These include closure of power plants in the National Capital Region (NCR) that do not adhere to the 2017 emission norms, and restraint on private transport through measures as listed in GRAP to enhance parking fees.

The NCR cities of Ghaziabad, Greater Noida, Noida and Faridabad were in the ‘poor’ category, while Gurugram was in the ‘moderate’ category October 8.

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