As the dust particles gradually begin to envelop the Delhi-NCR, the Environment Ministry on Monday released a Comprehensive Action Plan (CAP) in order to combat the air pollution in the region in the long run. The plan, which will work alongside the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) that kicks in for implementation under different categories of air quality, outlines a multi-pronged strategy to deal with the menace of air pollution.
While the Centre had finalised the draft notification of the CAP in March, the environment ministry released the final plan on Monday. The final plan set deadlines for each sector, including air quality index monitoring, crop residue burning, traffic management and emission control.
It also stresses the need for a stricter parking policy for Delhi-NCR and for upgrading the public transport system immediately. The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), a Supreme Court-mandated agency, raised these two changes in a meeting with the ministry officials on Monday, The Times of India reported.
“The ministry reviewed all measures under CAP for Delhi-NCR. But EPCA has emphasised on the need to focus on public transport as well as on a parking policy to encourage people to shift to the public transport system. With no deterrence or a suitable system in place, the number of vehicles on the roads are likely to increase,” TOI reported, quoting Sunita Narain, a member of EPCA as saying.
The CAP urges the concerned agencies to ensure strict compliance in shifting to BS VI by 2020, expanding CNG network across NCR, introducing battery-operated vehicles and installing vapour recovery systems. The plan also asks for better traffic management and mentions a need to improve the frequency of Metro trains while infusing more buses into the existing transport system.
The plan calls on NCR to work on diverting transit truck traffic and checking overloading while also calling for a parking policy that will physically demarcate legal parking areas and penalise people for parking at other places.
According to Narain, some actions have already been implemented under the CAP including the shift to “approved” fuels and prohibition on pet coke and furnace oil in industries. While Narain says this has already made a huge difference, the EPCA has sought better pollution monitoring, especially for industries.