About two weeks after the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) slammed authorities in Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Faridabad for “very weak and inadequate monitoring of air pollution” and issued remedial measures, the national capital region (NCR) cities have swung into action.
The authority has maintained that controlling pollution in the NCR is key to achieving the target in Delhi.
Key provisions of a five-year action plan prepared by the Delhi government and the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) to fight pollution in the Capital are being implemented in the NCR as well.
EPCA has said NCR’s air is saturated and has no room for more pollution. It has called for an NCR-wide action plan to ensure trans-boundary effects of pollution is minimised.
The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) will build one air quality monitoring station each in Noida and Ghaziabad at a cost of R2 crore. “After our meeting with EPCA officials, we have fined six industrial units for causing pollution over the past one week. Besides, traffic police have also been fining polluting vehicles,” said a UPPCB official.
The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) has also been pro-active. “One monitoring station at Vikas Sadan has been made operational as per EPCA’s directions. We have also started sending online reports to the central pollution control board,” said an HSPCB official in Gurgaon.
“DCP traffic and SDM are fining polluting auto-rickshaws and generators,” he said.
Alarmed by rising pollution levels, the Delhi government is exploring the possibility of reducing the number of personal vehicles and imposing congestion charges, besides improving monitoring and enforcement to bring down pollution levels in the Capital by 2017.
EPCA’s chairman Bhure Lal early this month told NCR officials to take stringent action on gross polluting vehicles through joint inspections at border points.
The officials were also told to take immediate and enhanced measures for enforcing pollution norms by industries and banning garbage and leaf burning.
They will also ensure that generator sets used by both industries and commercial establishments meet the emissions norms.
But residents have reservations. Arun Rawat, a resident of Delhi, said, “Police are not equipped and trained to challan polluting vehicles. Plus, industrial units in Ghaziabad are openly flouting norms.”
Nishit Goel, another Delhiite, said, “Parking fees and fines need to be increased so that it becomes a deterrent for the
residents to own a car.”
(with inputs from Vinod Rajput in Noida and Dhananjay Jha in Gurgaon)