In a major relief for the citizens of Delhi, the air quality of the national capital changed for the better on Friday and remained outside the ‘severe plus’ category continuing the trend for the fourth consecutive day. Though, the air quality index (AQI) remained in the ‘very poor’ zone pegged at 310 it is considerably better than the figure recorded yesterday, reported at 363. However, the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) has forecast that air quality is likely to dip over the weekend due to incursion of moisture and fall in the inversion layer which will keep pollutants trapped near the surface. The volume (24-hour rolling average) of ultrafine particulates PM2.5 and PM10 were 140 and 216 micrograms per cubic metre respectively today. The levels of pollution fell considerably through the day but there is a possibility of renewed spike of pollution levels during the weekend, an hourly graph of the Central Pollution Board (CPCB) too revealed.
Earlier today, a bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) headed by Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar lifted its ban on construction activities in Delhi-NCR. The bench has also allowed trucks to enter the national capital and has asked authorities to keep a strict vigil on their movement. However, the green panel has decided not to lift its ban on industrial activities causing pollution in the Delhi and National Capital Region. The measures are a part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) that were enforced on November 8 after a significant spike in the pollution levels in the capital region. The spike caused by pollution coupled with smog forced the green authority to enforce an emergency situation in Delhi.
The NGT noted that sprinkling of water had brought down the levels of toxic elements in the air and asked the government to implement such measures in future without hesitation. The tribunal also observed that Delhi government should ensure that diesel vehicles which are 10 years or older should be taken off roads without further delay.
The Environment Pollution Control Authority, a pollution watchdog appointed by the Supreme Court had slammed the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal led Delhi government for its ‘lack of action’ that led to weakening of measures implemented by GRAP. The Delhi BJP wing also decided to move Supreme Court against the AAP government for non-utilisation of environmental cess.