Delhi air pollution: CPCB to launch emergency control plan from Monday

Currently, the air quality is in the poor category but authorities have predicted that it would reach the 'very poor' category in the next couple of days

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New Delhi: An emergency action plan will be implemented in New Delhi from Monday to combat air pollution that has begun to show a trend towards poor category, the Central Pollution Control Board said.

Under the emergency plan called Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), if the air quality lies in moderate to poor category- measures, like stopping garbage burning in landfills and other places, and enforcing all pollution control regulations in brick kilns and industries, would be implemented.

Currently, the air quality is in the poor category but authorities have predicted that it would reach the ‘very poor’ category in the next couple of days.

If the air quality falls in the very poor category, additional measures of stopping the use of diesel generator sets, enhancing parking fees 3-4 times and increasing frequency of metro and buses would be implemented, he added.

If the air quality falls in the severe category, additional measures would be implemented of increasing frequency of mechanised cleaning of roads, the 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 a task force to take a 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 11 October, 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 were started by the two-member team on 15 September, 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 the fog and creates a toxic smoggy winter every year.