Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday said that the measures to mitigate air pollution will be pursued “vigorously” even as the weather in the Delhi-NCR has improved and particulate matter levels have declined.
He said major hot-spots in the national capital have already been identified for local control measures, including sprinkling of water, regulation of construction activities, among others. “All the measures and actions initiated by various agencies will be pursued vigorously and continued further,” he said.
A meeting with concerned agencies is scheduled on November 17 at the Central Pollution Control Board to discuss the actions and measures taken for local control of pollutants in the identified hot-spots. “On account of further measures taken by implementing agencies at ground level, as directed by the ministry and also due to improving weather conditions, the particulate matter (PM) levels in Delhi and NCR declined further as anticipated,” Vardhan said.
The minister said that the PM levels reached ‘very poor’ category with PM10 at 316.8 micrograms /m3 and PM2.5 at 206.8 micrograms/m3 at 4 pm, compared to ‘severe’ category yesterday. “The actions are being reviewed on a daily basis, based on the reports of the field teams of the CPCB deployed for getting a feedback on the actions initiated by the implementing agencies and further follow-up is also taken diligently,” he added.
Showing marked improvement, air quality in the national capital was recorded as ‘very poor’ yesterday, but the Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority is not planning to lift the emergency measures such as ban on trucks and construction immediately.
The 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of the CPCB was 308 yesterday, which falls in the ‘very poor’ category, following a week-long smog episode when pollutants shot up to emergency levels.