November 11, 2020 6:11:02 pm
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on Wednesday directed a closure of hot mix plants and stone crushers in Delhi-NCR till November 17, considering a likely increase in pollution levels during the festive season.
It also asked the governments of Punjab and Haryana to take immediate stringent actions to curb stubble burning and authorities in Delhi-NCR to strictly check biomass burning.
“Frequency of mechanised cleaning of roads and water sprinkling to be increased, particularly on road stretches with high dust generation potential,” the apex pollution watchdog said in an order. “It should be ensured that guidelines and standard operating procedures for dust mitigation at construction sites are strictly adhered to,” it added.
In case of any violation, strict action such as imposition of penalty and a temporary stoppage of construction activities should be taken against the violators, the CPCB order read.
The Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas had on Tuesday tasked the CPCB with operationalising and monitoring GRAP measures till a mechanism is set up by the newly-constituted panel.
The commission had also decided that in view of the deteriorating air quality in the NCR, there is a need to invoke the GRAP, which has already been notified by the central government.
The Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) — a set of anti-pollution measures followed in Delhi and towns in its vicinity according to the severity of the situation — came into force on October 15. It was notified by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2017 for implementation through the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority.
The measures under the GRAP include increasing the numbers of bus and metro services, hiking parking fees and stopping the use of diesel generator sets when the air quality turns poor.
When the situation turns “severe”, the GRAP recommends a closure of brick kilns, stone crushers and hot mix plants, sprinkling of water, frequent mechanised cleaning of roads and maximising power generation from natural gas.
The measures to be followed in the “emergency” situation include stopping the entry of trucks in Delhi, a ban on construction activities and introduction of the odd-even car rationing scheme.
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