EVEN AS the Ghazipur landfill smolders and Delhi’s air veers between ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’, the city’s emergency action plan to combat air pollution will come into play on Wednesday, instead of Monday, after the Badarpur Power Plant is shut, officials said.
The shutting down of the plant will be one among the slew of measures that the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) has suggested. The plan, formulated by a Supreme Court-mandated panel, was initially supposed to begin from October 15.
A source said, “We are going to start it from October 18. The FIFA U-17 World Cup is on, and there is need for power. Hence, the Badarpur plant can’t be closed just yet.”
Meanwhile, hours after a fire was reported at the Ghazipur landfill on Saturday evening, flames were doused in the early hours on Sunday after over seven hours of firefighting operations, a fire official said. “Five fire tenders were rushed and the blaze was doused at 1.30 am,” a Delhi Fire Services official said, adding that no one was injured in the incident. Recently, a part of the massive landfill had collapsed, leading to deaths of two persons, and the subsequent shutting down of the site.
As per the GRAP, measures to curb pollution for ‘severe’ or ‘emergency’ air quality days — when PM2.5 levels cross 300 µg/m3 or PM10 levels cross 500 µg/m3 and persists for 48 hours or more — will include stopping entry of truck traffic to Delhi, introducing odd-even schemes for private vehicles, shutting of schools and increase in frequency of mechanised cleaning of road.
For ‘very poor’ days, the measure would include stopping of DG sets, enhancing parking fee by 3-4 times.
As per the plan, the Central Pollution Control Board will provide air quality data, and the IMD will provide weather data. “Action will be taken accordingly,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, Centre for Science and Environment.