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Tuesday, Nov 29, 2022

Delhi NCR gasps, use of non-BS VI diesel vehicles, over 3 lakh, banned

The ban on diesel four-wheelers, except BS-VI vehicles and those used for essential and emergency services, will be applicable in Delhi and NCR districts bordering the capital, according to the order.

On NH24 on Thursday. The pollution in Delhi has plunged to 'severe' levels. (Express Photo: Abhinav Saha)

With Delhi’s Air Quality Index (AQI) deteriorating on Thursday to 450, which puts it just below the ‘severe plus’ category, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has invoked measures under Stage 4 of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) with immediate effect, prohibiting the use of diesel four-wheelers that are not BS-VI compliant, as well as the entry of trucks into Delhi.

There are 3 lakh diesel light motor vehicles in Delhi that are not BS-VI compliant.

The BS — Bharat Stage — emission standards are norms instituted by the government to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles. India was earlier following European (Euro) emission norms with a time lag of five years but it skipped switching to BS V and moved straight to BS-VI from BS-IV in 2020.

The Supreme Court ordered car manufacturers to shift to BS-VI car models starting April 1, 2020.

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The central panel’s order also said that state governments in the National Capital Region (NCR) can decide whether to impose further emergency measures such as closing educational institutions and mandating vehicles with odd and even numbers to ply on alternate days. The state governments and the Union government will also take a call on whether to allow work from home for offices.

The ban on diesel four-wheelers, except BS-VI vehicles and those used for essential and emergency services, will be applicable in Delhi and NCR districts bordering the capital, according to the order. All Delhi-registered diesel medium- and heavy-goods vehicles are also be prohibited from plying in Delhi, except those used for essential or emergency services.

All industries in the NCR running on fuels apart from those approved for the NCR are to be shut, except for dairy units and those manufacturing medical equipment or drugs.

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Construction and demolition activities, including those on linear public projects like highways, roads, flyovers, pipelines and power lines, which were previously exempted from the construction ban, are also be banned.

A release issued by the CAQM said the measures were being taken “in the wake of unfavourable meteorological conditions anticipated to deteriorate the air quality of the NCR in the coming days” and that forecasts indicate that air quality in Delhi is likely to remain in the ‘severe’ or ‘severe plus’ category between November 3 to 5.

As per the revised GRAP that is in place this year, Stage 4 is to set in three days ahead of the forecast indicating that the AQI is likely to be more than 450. Under the ‘severe plus’ category, GRAP also recommends that “children, elderly and those with respiratory, cardiovascular, cerebrovascular or other chronic diseases avoid outdoor activities and stay indoors, as much as possible”.

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The AQI in Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad and Gurgaon was also in the ‘severe’ category on Thursday. Delhi’s AQI had deteriorated from 376, in the ‘very poor’ category on Wednesday, to 450, which is in the ‘severe’ category. AQI of more than 450 is in the ‘severe plus’ category.

According to the SAFAR forecasting system, the contribution of stubble burning to the levels of PM2.5 — the fine particulate matter that can be a health concern when levels are high — in Delhi hit 34 per cent on Thursday, the highest so far this season. This is up from 12 per cent recorded on Wednesday. The AQI “deteriorated significantly due to strong upper-level winds blowing from stubble burning areas towards Delhi”, according to an update from SAFAR.

On Thursday, Punjab recorded a fire count of 2,666, down from 3,646 on Wednesday, according to data from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute.

First published on: 04-11-2022 at 04:15:24 am
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