The onset of the festive season has started to take its toll on the air quality of the national capital and its surrounding states. On Wednesday, i.e. Dussehra, the air quality deteriorated to be in the ‘poor’ category. The AQI in Delhi on Wednesday was 211 according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) bulletin. The AQI in neighbouring cities in the NCR region, like Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad and Gurgaon deteriorated from ‘moderate’ category on Tuesday to ‘poor’ category on Wednesday.
The NCR’s air quality now will be accessed and impacted by the implementation of the measures under the first stage of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), which will take effect immediately. Three days before the AQI is expected to reach its projected level, other measures will also be implemented. Actions under Stages II, III, and IV will be invoked three days in advance of the AQI reaching the projected level.
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Stage 1 (AQI ‘Poor’ – 201 to 300)
The first phase of the program involves the implementation of measures to stop the construction and demolition of plots that are not registered on dust mitigation portals or are with plot size 500 square metres.
Water sprinkling and mechanised sweeping of roads to disperse pollutants.
Implementation of anti-smog guns at construction sites.
In addition, the implementation of a ban on the open burning of waste and the use of vehicles with pollution-control equipment will also be carried out.
In order to minimize power interruptions in the NCR, the region’s DISCOMs will minimise power supply interruptions in NCR. Workplaces need to implement measures to encourage employees to utilise unified commutes.
Stage 2 (AQI ‘Very poor’ – 301 to 400)
Banning the use of tandoors, coal/firewood in hotels
Banning the use of diesel generators except for hospitals, water pumping stations, airports, metro rails, and other emergency services
Increase parking fees to discourage the use of private transport for commute
Procuring more electric buses and increasing the frequency of metro services
Stage 3 (AQI ‘Severe’ – 401 to 450)
Construction and demolition activities except railway, metro, hospitals, sanitation projects will be stopped with immediate effect
Industries that have PNG supply and are not running on approved fuels will be closed. Elsewhere, industries not running on approved fuels will operate for only five days a week.
Restrictions on BS III petrol and BS IV diesel four-wheelers.
Stage 4 (AQI ‘Severe +’ – more than 450)
Entry of trucks into Delhi (except for essentials, trucks running on CNG and electric) and plying of Delhi registered diesel medium and heavy goods vehicles
Additional measures may be taken by the state governments from the closure of schools to the implementation of odd-even driving rules.
The state governments of the NCR will be asked to allow private, public, and municipal offices to work on 50% strength.
Ban C&D activities in linear public projects like roads, highways, and flyovers.