- Air pollution in Delhi is rising
- The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has banned use of diesel generators in Delhi-NCR
- The ban is in effect from today and will remain imposed until further notice
The use of diesel generators to generate electricity in the national capital has been banned from today i.e. 15th October 2020 as a measure to curb the rising level of Air Pollution. The air quality in the Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region) has been dipping due to the onset of the winter and the beginning of stubble burning by farmers in the neighbouring states.
On Wednesday, Delhi recorded an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 282 at 5:00 PM. The 24-hour average AQI was 300 a day before (Tuesday). The AQI had hit “very poor” levels on Tuesday morning and stood at 306 at 11 am, which was the worst AQI seen by Delhi since February.
In an attempt to control the air quality of Delhi-NCR the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), on Wednesday, issued directions wherein the use of all diesel generators in the national capital from Thursday under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) will be banned.
The DPCC has banned the use of generator sets of all capacities which run on diesel, petrol or/ and even kerosene in Delhi with effect from 15th of October and it will last until further orders.
The only exemptions in this order will be the essential services including healthcare facilities, elevators, railway services, Delhi Metro, airports and interstate bus terminals and the data centre run by the National Informatics Centre.
The order was given after the chairman of EPCA [Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority] Dr. Bhure Lal visited the hotspots. During the visit, the EPCA chairman noted that there was an urgent need to plug the sources of pollution before winter in addition to the ground-level monitoring. He also added that there will be a need to use the smog guns for the prevention of dust pollution.
The orders state that all the hots[ots of the air pollution in Delhi-NCR need to be properly and closely monitored to make sure that the plan from EPCA is implemented efficiently and effectively.
The DPCC order also directs the authorities to undertake night patrolling to make sure there is no incident of garbage burning or other activities which can lead to dust pollution which would further cause AQI to deteriorate.
Going by the directive which was issued by the DPCC, the long-term measures need to be taken for disposal of garbage so that incidents of garbage burning can be curbed.
Burning of garbage is a major part of air pollution in Delhi, said the DPCC.
The committee that, wherever it is possible, the arrangements need to be made to sweep the streets with machines and also asked the authorities to sprinkle water on the roads and take all possible steps possible steps to prevent any dust pollution.
Graded Response Action Plan or GRAP is a set of anti-pollution measures that come into force in Delhi and its vicinity towns (NCR) as per the severity of the situation. It was notified by the Ministry of Environment and Forests back in the year 2017 for implementation through the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority.
The measures under GRAP which were first implemented in Delhi-NCR in 2017 which is was instated, include increasing bus and metro services, hiking the parking fees and stopping the use of diesel generator sets when the air quality turns poor.
If and when the air quality in the Delhi-NCR dip and enters the “severe” category, GRAP recommends closure of brick kilns, stone crushers and hot mix plants, and advocate for the sprinkling of water, frequent mechanised cleaning of roads and maximising power generation from natural gas.
When there will be an “emergency” situation then a curb on the entry of trucks in Delhi will be placed along with a ban on construction activities and introduction of the odd-even car rationing scheme.
Having said this, EPCA had earlier told Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh that they “should try and avert the need to take other emergency measures for pollution control as the economy is already under stress post-lockdown. Therefore, our combined effort is to ensure that there is no further disruption”.
The Air Quality Index of Delhi is in “Very Poor” Quality today at 326.
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ‘Good’, 51 and 100 ‘Satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘Moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘Poor’, 301 and 400 ‘Very Poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘Severe’.
Yesterday, the AQI in Delhi was 274 at 10:30 am and 282 at 5 pm which is “Poor”.
A senior scientist at the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) had said that the dip in the air quality can be credited to the low wind speed which has allowed the accumulation of pollutants in the air of the national capital.
The scientist said, “Stubble burning has also increased in neighbouring states. A change in wind direction is likely to improve AQI slightly on Tuesday,”.
Low temperatures and stagnant winds allow accumulation of pollutants near the ground, affecting the air quality.
As per the findings from the analysis conducted by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, a Delhi-based think tank, transportation contribute the most – 18% to 39% Delhi’s air pollution. Road dust is the second-largest source of air pollution in the city (18 to 38 per cent), – followed by industries (2% to 29%), thermal power plants (3% to 11%) and construction (8%).
The Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government has launched a massive anti-air pollution campaign – “Yuddh Pradushan Ke Viruddh” – which is being led by the Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal and Environment Minister Gopal Rai. At the Delhi Secretariat, a “green war room” was set up which constitutes of 10 members expert team which will monitor the steps which will be taken to deal with high levels of air pollution in winters in Delhi-NCR.