Delhi Pollution: Narendra Modi government finalises 12-point ‘Air Action Plan’ to tackle smog

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New Delhi | Published: December 27, 2017 12:53:28 PM

Delhi Air Pollution: A draft action agenda has been formulated by a High Level Task Force that has been set up by the PM Narendra Modi-led central government to address the woeful air quality in the Delhi NCR and find required remedies that suit the situation.

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Delhi Air Pollution: A draft action agenda has been formulated by a High Level Task Force that has been set up by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government to address the woeful air quality in the Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) and find required remedies that suit the situation. The Task Force is being headed by Nripendra Misra, Principal Secretary to PM. The task force finalised ‘Air Action Plan – Abatement of Air Pollution in the Delhi National Capital Region’ and listed key actions that the task force will monitor. The draft states, “It is recognised that the agencies responsible for the various determinants of air quality will take a number of other steps based on their assessment of need. Secretary MoEF will be responsible for overall coordination of the action agenda.” It adds that the government welcomes suggestions from experts and citizens to make the action plan more effective and practical. Mentioned below are the 12 pointers drafted by the High Level Task Force to tackle the environment condition in NCR-

1. Crop Stubble Burning, Monitoring and interstate coordination
– Coordinated action to combat stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and U.P.
– In collaboration with Secretary (DARE), Secretary (Agriculture) and Secretary (RD) implement roll out of the agreed plan for managing crop stubble.
– In collaboration with the Chief Secretaries of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh – monitor agreed enforcement measures to reduce crop stubble burning.
– In collaboration with Department of Science & Technology – ensure that independent data on crop stubble burning is available in real time.

2. Pollution monitoring and source attribution
– In collaboration with Delhi Pollution Control Committee, ensure that Delhi/ NCR has an adequate network of air quality monitoring stations
– Commission and validate source attribution studies for the National Capital Region (annually).
– Set up an anti-Pollution Help-Line in NCR Districts to register complaints of specific violations. A pollution app should also be prepared wherein citizens can take a picture of the violation and upload it for quick remedial action.

3. Reducing Pollution from Power Plants and other polluting industries
– NOx curtailment measures in all power plants in NCR region in a time bound manner by NTPC and other operators
– MoEF to develop a Dashboard of all the Red Category polluting units in NCR. Each of these units to install a certified pollution meter within their premises.
– Strict action should be taken regarding brick kilns operating in NCR especially in areas like Bagpat (UP), Jhajjar (Haryana) without environmental clearance
– Enforce all brick-kilns to migrate to Zig- zag technology. State and Municipal actions required to reduce air pollution.

4. Solid Waste Management
– MCDs to increase decentralized processing of bio-degradable waste, to fill the gap between waste collected and processed. DDA should provide full support to this exercise.
– An independent verification mechanism should be set up to check whether 100% solid waste is actually being collected – with a specific focus on poor communities such as slums and JJ clusters.

5. Managing and Remediating Sanitary landfills
– Steps must be taken to ensure that there are no fires at sanitary landfills. Municipal Bodies must access special expertise to douse landfill fires.
– Remediation measures for the all three sanitary landfill sites should be initiated in 6 months.

6. Construction and Demolition (C&D) Waste
– Large construction Agencies like NBCC and CPWD that are working in the National Capital Region should set up their own facilities for processing C&D waste and reuse the products in their own projects.

7. Mechanized Road Sweeping and managing road dust
– At present, it is reported that about 15% of road sweeping in Delhi is mechanized. This should increase to at least 40% in the next 4 months.
– Delhi PWD, Irrigation Department and MCDs to take up greening or green paving of central verges, roadside berms, sides of drains, etc. over the next one year with monitorable targets.
– Watering roadsides (pavement) and parking places by all the Municipal Corporations in Delhi to reduce dust as per agreed schedule.
– Ensure SoPs are followed at construction sites in terms of curtaining and sprinkling water to reduce dust.
– Municipal Corporations, UD Department have to implement a strong behaviour change campaign involving Resident Welfare Associations and Market Trader Associations on proper management of solid waste to improve air quality.

8. Improving Public Transport
– Procurement of additional buses and improvement of last mile connectivity.
– Increase number of metro coaches
– Journey Planner app integrating Metro, DIMTS and DTC services
– Integrated ticketing across DTC, Cluster and Metro in six months
– Ensure that non- destined trucks do not enter Delhi. Ensuring compliance of the Toll and Municipal charges for entering of trucks in Delhi.

9. Solid Waste Management in other NCR cities
– The respective Divisional Commissioners will assess the management of Municipal solid waste in their jurisdictions, and, within 15 days, prepare a plan to ensure 100% collection and processing. The plan must have monitorable timelines and an independent verification mechanism.
– Steps will be taken to combat road dust and dust arising from construction activities, broadly following the model set by Delhi.

10. Completion of Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways within target dates

11. Encouraging Electric Vehicles and promoting shared and connected mobility
– Policy support to encourage Electric Vehicles, prioritising the use of EVs for public transport and promoting shared and connected mobility.

12. Reducing Congestion
– In collaboration with the traffic police, identify choke points and take up projects to reduce congestion at these points; Similar exercise may be done in respect of Meerut, Rohtak and Gurugram divisions.

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