With Delhi air pollution levels taking a turn for the worse in the run-up to winter, an emergency action plan to counter it came into effect from Monday. This includes a ban on burning garbage and action against polluting vehicles.
Right now, the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi is in the “poor” category. More measures will be introduced as and when the AQI becomes “severe” and “very severe”.
Delhi Air Pollution Control Measures
The Central Pollution Control Board implemented the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) last year. This initiates an emergency protocol with a series of measures to be taken according to the Air Quality Index.
If the AQI mark swings between “moderate” and “poor category”, pollution control regulations will be implemented and a ban will be put on garbage burning. Once it touches the very poor category, additional measures like restricting diesel vehicles, more frequent services of metro, buses or other public vehicles and hike in parking fares would be implemented.
If the situation worsens further and the index moves to the“severe” and “very severe” air quality category, authorities plan frequent mechanised sweeping of roads, water sprinkling measures, restricted entry of trucks in the capital, and checking construction activities. The government may also appoint a task force to take decisions like shutting schools.
The Ministry of Earth Sciences has meanwhile launched an Early Warning System that can predict “extreme Air Pollution events” 72 hours in advance and give necessary alerts.
Early Warning System can predict extreme #AirPollution events 72 hours in advance and give necessary alerts.
— PIB India (@PIB_India) October 15, 2018
Delhi Air Pollution A Burning Issue
After the harvest in Punjab and Haryana, farmers carry out stubble burning which increases the level of pollution in Delhi and neighbouring areas during this time of the year.
Linking the issue of pollution in Delhi to the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had warned a few days ago that “the entire region including Delhi will again become gas chamber”.
We have been pursuing with Central Haryana and Punjab govts, yet no concrete action has been taken. Farmers again helpless. The entire region including Delhi will again become gas chamber. People will again face difficulty in breathing. This is criminal. https://t.co/SDyXLTDvnc
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) October 12, 2018
Bursting of fire crackers on Diwali worsens the situation every year. However, the major sources of Delhi air pollution continue to be dust particles and vehicular emissions.
Air quality in Delhi has been on a downward spiral over the past few years, especially from October-November as temperature drops and the winds slow down.
Last year, the Supreme Court had banned the burning of fire crackers on the occasion of Diwali to curb Delhi air pollution levels in the capital. Delhi had also adopted GRAP as an emergency measure.