1. Air pollution: Odd-even for cars, other curbs may be back in Delhi; here’s why

Air pollution: Odd-even for cars, other curbs may be back in Delhi; here’s why

The Environment Ministry has notified the action plan to implement a ‘graded response’ system for air pollution after it was cleared by the Supreme Court paving the way for odd-even and a host of other emergency measures to kick in if pollution levels touch emergency proportions.

By: | New Delhi | Updated: January 17, 2017 10:48 AM
The Environment Ministry has notified the action plan to implement a ‘graded response’ system for air pollution after it was cleared by the Supreme Court paving the way for odd-even and a host of other emergency measures to kick in if pollution levels touch emergency proportions. (Reuters image) The Environment Ministry has notified the action plan to implement a ‘graded response’ system for air pollution after it was cleared by the Supreme Court paving the way for odd-even and a host of other emergency measures to kick in if pollution levels touch emergency proportions. (Reuters image)

It’s that time of the year when vehicles’s number plates grab eyeballs in Delhi. Yes, we are talking about odd-even scheme in the national capital. The car rationing scheme, which was implemented in January last year and subsequently in April as part of anti-pollution emergency measure, might hit the road in the winter. Earlier, the Arvind Kejriwal government had made it clear that the third phase of odd-even scheme will only happen in the city with prior adequate preparations and awareness to the people. The Environment Ministry has notified the action plan to implement a ‘graded response’ system for air pollution after it was cleared by the Supreme Court paving the way for odd-even and a host of other emergency measures to kick in if pollution levels touch emergency proportions.

The plan, prepared by the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), contains a set of actions to be undertaken when Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 or 10 reaches specific levels in Delhi and the National Capital Region, according to The Indian Express report.

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This includes the imposition of the odd-even policy if PM 2.5 crosses 300 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) or PM 10 crosses the 500 mark. The prescribed standards of PM 2.5 and PM 10 are 60 and 100 micrograms per cubic metre respectively. During ‘very poor’ air quality, diesel generators must be banned and parking free increased by 3-4 times. The plan has enumerated a number of other measures which include closing brick kilns, hot mix plants, stone crushers, intensifying public transport services besides increase in frequency of mechanised cleaning of road and sprinkling of water on roads. According to the Central Pollution Control Board’s air quality bulletin, PM 2.5 concentration was around 200 µg/m3 on Monday.

The plan was passed by the court on December 2 and notified by the Ministry on January 12. According EPCA officials, the actions and provisions in the graded response were put together after consultation with stakeholders. The odd-even rule, violation of which attracted a penalty of Rs 2,000 under provisions of Motor Vehicles Act, was applicable between 8 AM and 8 PM except on Sundays during the period.

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It has been learnt that EPCA, which will implement the plan in collaboration with the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan, will hold a meeting with stakeholders this week. Members of the enforcement body said that the graded response will also help in preventing the levels reach ‘severe’ levels.

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