As the air quality in Delhi-NCR dropped to ‘poor’ category from ‘very poor’ on Thursday morning – for the first time in two weeks – the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) directed the ban on entry of trucks and construction works in Delhi be withdrawn. The four-time hike in parking fees was also lifted. EPCA said they lifted the hike in parking fees due to lack of public transport and laxity in acting against illegal parking. At Lodhi Road, prominent pollutants PM10 and PM2.5 dipped to 288 and 289, even though smog continued to hamper train services. ANI reported that 26 trains were delayed, seven rescheduled and six cancelled.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath issued a string of orders to tackle air pollution in the state. He banned garbage burning in urban areas and directed municipal corporations across the state to implement it effectively. He also asked them to sprinkle water on roads and implement a ban on crop burning.
Delhi pollution highlights:
07.15 pm: Delhi MLAs Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Kapil Mishra tie protective mask on Mahatma Gandhi’s statue at Gyarah Murti sculpture near Mother Teresa Crescent on Saradar Patel Marg, reported PTI.
05.10 pm: Kailash Gahlot accused the EPCA ‘of keeping quiet’ over obligations of the NCR while the Delhi government was criticised for ‘flip-flop’ over the odd-even scheme, reports PTI.
5.05 pm: Implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan measures within Delhi would not be of much effect unless similar measures were adopted by the NCR, Delhi Transport minister Kailash Gahlot wrote to EPCA chariman Bhure Lal. (PTI)
4.55 pm: Delhi High Court asks Centre and Delhi Govt’s senior bureaucrats to not discuss immediate measures such as spraying of water, but discuss long term measures such as cloud seeding, reports ANI.
4:20 pm: Delhi L-G has approved decisions to lift the ban on entry of trucks in the city and reversing of enhanced parking charges from four times to normal, reports ANI.
4:15 pm: Dust storm in West Asia precipitated Delhi’s smog crisis, says SAFAR, a Centre-run monitoring agency.
4:08 pm: NGT directs Delhi government to submit data on ambient air quality of last two days, says it will consider changing its order based on this information.
4:04 pm: Delhi government tells NGT that levels of PM2.5 have come down after sprinkling of water.
4:00 pm: Spoke to generators of NTPC Thermal power plant, they say it is possible for their fuel to consist of 10% straw…paddy straw. Now we will issue tenders for it and the average price will be Rs 5,500 per tonne: Power Minister RK Singh to ANI.
3:10 pm: Delhi High Court allows Airtel Half Marathon to proceed as planned after the organisers submitted that they have put in a refund policy for those runners who want to opt out and there are measures in place to deal with medical emergencies.
03.05 pm: The imposition of emergency measures in Delhi such as a ban on the entry of trucks and construction activities yielded positive results, System of Air Quality And Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) said. (PTI)
2.20 pm: NGT says the institution that gets an exemption certificate shall be subject to environment compensation, which will be used for setting up rainwater harvesting systems in possible nearby areas.
2.02 pm: NTPC tells NGT it issued tenders for agricultural residue pellets, but found few takers. NGT asks state governments to tie up with NTPC so farmers can give crop residue to government, which in turn can be provided to the plant.
1.58 pm: National Green Tribunal directs all schools and colleges in Delhi to install rainwater harvesting systems within 2 months. Violators will be fined Rs 5 lakh.
12.45 pm: The hike in parking fees to discourage use of private vehicles was rendered “ineffective” due to lack of public transport and laxity in acting against illegal parking, says EPCA
11. 37 am: “We are watching the situation very carefully and we have been informed by the India Meteorological Department and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology that pollution may rise again because of increased moisture in the air in the coming days,” EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal.
11.36 am: Measures enforced under the Graded Response Action Plan, including the closure of the Badarpur thermal power plant, ban on brick kilns, hot mix plants and stone crushers will remain
11.00 am: IANS reported the minimum temperature was recorded at 13 degrees Celsius, which is the season’s average. “The sky will be clear with mist or shallow fog in the morning,” a MeT official said. The humidity at 8.30 am was 91 per cent and visibility stood at 1,000 metres. There is no rain expected for a week, the official said.
10.19 am: Environment Pollution Control Authority issues direction removing ban on entry of trucks, construction works in Delhi. Four-time hike in parking fees also withdrawn, reports ANI
9.41 am: Referring to satellite images, NOAA said the widespread burning of crop fields contributed to dangerous levels of air pollution in cities across northern India
9.38 am: NOAA says stagnation in air is leading to accumulation of pollutants. “This stagnation occurs when there is an inversion layer in the atmosphere,” NOAA said. An inversion layer refers to instances where the air does not cool as one moves up in the atmosphere, it explained. “Instead, warmer air sits on top of denser, colder air near the ground. Since that cold air has no place to go thanks to the warm lid placed atop it, it just sits there gathering pollution like a hazy snow-globe,” NOAA said.
9.36 am: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says cities in north India will continue to experience dangerous level of smog-filled pollution over the next several months and the region is just entering its smog season, PTI reported
8.38 am: Mandir Marg at 311, Punjabi Bagh at 324; both fall in ‘hazardous’ category, shows Air Quality Index. Dwarka and Anand Vihar both ‘very unhealthy’ at 293 in AQI.
8.25 am: Smog continues to hamper train services. ANI reported that 26 trains were delayed, seven rescheduled and six cancelled.
8.15 am: Good news for Delhiites as air quality drops to ‘poor’ category from ‘very poor’.
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