In order to keep a check on air pollution in the national capital, the two contributors that need to be controlled this year are dust emissions and waste burning, central environment secretary C K Mishra told The Indian Express Monday.
Mishra said that multiple central, state and local agencies were working together to control air pollution in the city, and that he has asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to levy fines whenever it records violations.
He said meteorological conditions, including wind speed direction and temperature, also determine the city’s air quality. “There are two things that we need to work on this year. One is the dust issue and the construction and demolition issue, because PM10 levels are high. Another thing we need to quickly and critically do is control small fires in industrial areas and waste burning,” Mishra said.
On stubble burning, the environment secretary said it does have an impact on Delhi’s air quality and that he is in touch with chief secretaries of Punjab and Haryana over the issue.
What causes Delhi’s pollution has become a hotly contested topic this season, with the ruling AAP government blaming pollution control bodies of understating the impact of crop burning.
Last week, the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), formulated by the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), was implemented in the capital to control deteriorating air quality.
The plan recommends that authorities control dust emissions by sprinkling water on roads and increasing frequency of mechanised sweeping when air quality reaches the ‘severe’ level, and that waste burning be stopped when air quality is in the ‘moderate’ to ‘poor’ category.
Ever since the measure was enforced, local agencies have intensified action against activities that contribute to air pollution and imposed fines of lakhs.
North corporation officials said that between October 15 and 19, they issued 228 challans for garbage or biomass burning and collected around Rs 9.5 lakh in fines. For flouting construction emission norms, 229 challans were issued, with a fine of Rs 30.88 lakh. Around 3,500 metric tonnes of C&D waste has also been collected from unauthorised dumping locations in the past few days.
The South Corporation has been taking action since October 1, and had found 2,176 air pollution violations till Sunday. Fines of over Rs 53 lakh have been levied. In East Delhi, the local municipal corporation found 157 air pollution violations between October 15 and 19, issuing fines worth Rs 4.6 lakh.
“The environment department has had several rounds of meetings on the issue of construction and road dust. DPCC teams are going around the city, imposing penalties for violations. Road-owning agencies have been directed to clear stretches with loose soil. MCDs have been directed to operate vacuum-cleaning machines to full capacity,” a Delhi government official said.
Meanwhile, EPCA chairman Dr Bhure Lal wrote to the chief secretaries of Rajasthan and UP Monday, directing them to take action on the environmental violations he took note of during a visit to Bhiwadi and Meerut.