November 24, 2017 2:45:13 am
While noting that crop burning was a “contributory factor” to the capital’s air pollution and “not the only problem”, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) has suggested a “ban on all diesel vehicles” during smog in winters.
It also suggested additional emergency measures such as “stickers indicating fuel and age on all vehicles through PUC”, so that categories of vehicles can be prohibited based on threat level.
“This, however, will require intervention from relevant ministries so that the stickers are tamper-proof,” the EPCA said.
On November 13, the Supreme Court-appointed pollution watchdog submitted a report to the apex court on the “implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) and learning from the first smog emergency of 2017”.
It analysed the performance of the state and Centre and found several problems in implementation of GRAP. Sources in the EPCA said the body is considering a proposal to make the enforcement mechanism “automatic”.
An official said, “During the last smog, the entire implementation of odd-even was derailed — first, because the government wanted to implement it without us suggesting it and then because the NGT raised questions over exemptions.” The issue is likely to be taken up in the EPCA panel meeting on Friday.
“The fact is that while crop burning from Punjab and Haryana is a contributory factor, it is not the only problem during winter in this region,” an official said, adding that there was a “need to include further measures” that could bring “immediate relief” during smog periods.
Apart from this, the EPCA also suggested “closure of all coal-based thermal plants and industries in the region”.
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