As the winter season approaches, Delhi has implemented an emergency action plan to keep the impending air pollution in check. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said that air quality in Delhi has already deteriorated to 'poor'. Authorities believe that it will turn 'very poor' in the next couple of days.
The emergency plan has been named Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), under which stringent actions are being implemented across the city.
For instance, if the air quality remains between moderate and poor, garbage burning in landfills and other places would be stopped as well as pollution control regulations in brick kilns and industries would be enforced, an official said.
If the air quality falls to very poor, additional measures such as stopping the use of diesel generator sets, increasing parking fees by 3-4 times, increasing frequency of metro and buses will be undertaken.
If air quality falls to severe, then more measures such as increasing frequency of mechanised cleaning of roads, sprinkling of water on roads and identifying road stretches with high dust generation will be implemented. Furthermore, if the air quality becomes severe plus emergency category then entry of trucks (except essential commodities) into Delhi and constructions will be stopped, a task force will be appointed to take additional steps including shutting of schools.
The CPCB has also deployed 41 teams across Delhi-NCR to monitor proper implementation of norms enforced to prevent pollution at the source. Till October 11, 96 inspections were conducted by the teams across Delhi-NCR. A senior CPCB official said that the inspections are likely to intensify in the coming days. These inspections were started by the two-member team on September 15.
Meanwhile, satellite images from NASA showed rampant stubble burning activity in Punjab and Haryana. 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 becomes a deadly mix of smoke and fog and creates a toxic smoggy winter every year.
(With PTI inputs; edited by Anwesha Madhukalya)
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