Diesel generator sets will be banned October 15 onwards in Delhi and neighbouring National Capital Region towns with the implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to check worsening air pollution.
Directions were issued Thursday to the chief secretaries of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan on implementing pollution control measures under GRAP by the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA).
A GRAP taskforce, led by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), has advised EPCA that the NCR has slipped into ‘poor’ air category as weather conditions were turning adverse.a
EPCA chairman Bhure Lal told the chief secretaries in a letter, “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.”
GRAP is a plan to tackle air pollution in the NCR, which was notified by the Union environment ministry in 2017. It lists the measures that need to be taken by authorities based on the region’s air quality.
From October 15 onwards, some measures under ‘Very Poor/Severe’ air category will come into force, and the taskforce and EPCA will direct for additional measures to be taken if the need arises.
“The use of diesel generator sets will be banned, other than for essential or emergency services, in Delhi and in vicinity towns — Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Faridabad and Gurgaon,” EPCA chairman said in the letter.
Large construction projects, including highways and Metro, and industries, particularly in the red and orange categories, will be required to give an undertaking to state pollution control boards to ensure adherence to dust management norms, and in case of industries, using only authorised fuel and operating with prescribed pollution control measures.
States have been asked to take these actions in addition to those that EPCA has already directed them to take. These include enforcement of action plans for controlling emissions in air pollution hotspots, mechanised sweeping of roads both at day and night, sprinkling of water on roads to control dust, night patrolling to check waste burning and dust emissions, and ensuring long-term solutions to solid waste dumping.
If weather conditions and air pollution levels turn adverse, more measures would be directed, including closure of power plants that do not adhere to 2017 emission norms, restrain on use of private transport and ban on construction activities.
“We recognise that the economy is already under stress post-lockdown, and therefore, our combined effort is to ensure that there is no further disruption,” Lal said in the letter to the chief secretaries.
He added, “However, we also recognise that co-morbidity is a huge challenge in the pandemic as there is enough evidence that pollution will make Covid-19 more dangerous. Therefore, we must have zero tolerance for air pollution in this period as it will come at huge human health cost.”
Prescribed measures under GRAP
For ‘moderate’ to ‘poor’ air
1. Stop garbage burning in landfills
2. Periodic mechanised sweeping on roads with heavy traffic. Water sprinkling on unpaved roads every two days
3. Stop plying of visibly polluting vehicles
4. Enforce dust control in construction activities
‘Very poor’ air
1. Stop use of diesel generator sets
2. Enhance parking fee by 3-4 times
3. Increase bus and Metro services
4. Stop use of coal/firewood in hotels and open eateries
1. Close brick kilns, hot mix plants, stone crushers
2. Maximise generation of power from natural gas-based plants, reduce operation of coal-based power plants
3. Increase public transport services
4. Increase frequency of mechanised cleaning of roads and sprinkling of water on roads
‘Severe+’ or ‘emergency’ air
1. Stop entry of all trucks, except essential commodities, into Delhi
2. Stop construction activities
3. Introduce odd-even scheme for vehicles
4. Task force to take decision on additional steps, including shutting down schools
Measures in place from Oct 15
1. Ban on DG sets in NCR
2. Large construction projects to comply with dust control measures
3. Industries to use only authorised fuels
4. Night patrolling to check waste burning, industrial and dust emissions
5. Mechanised sweeping of roads day and night, and water sprinkling to control dust
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