40 teams deployed in Delhi to keep watch on pollution in next four months
The move has been planned because of the approaching winter season and peak air pollution period, which begins in Delhi-NCR from Diwali onwards.delhi Updated: Sep 03, 2017 00:35 IST
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has deployed 40 teams across the city to observe and report on pollution in the Capital.
These two-member teams have been deployed district wise and will monitor factors causing air pollution, such as visibly polluting vehicles, garbage burning, road dust and dust at construction sites, among others, a CPCB official told Hindustan Times.
“Daily and weekly reports will be collated and sent to the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, the Lieutenant Governor’s office and to the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) and the exercise will continue for four months,” he said.
The move has been planned because of the approaching winter season and peak air pollution period, which begins in Delhi-NCR from Diwali onwards. The city of about 20 million people has been struggling to clean up its air that contains a toxic cocktail of dust, smoke and gases from vehicle and factory exhausts. The condition worsens every autumn and winter as the city, buffeted by farmers burning crop stalks in neighbouring states and atmospheric changes, records higher levels of air pollution.
A host of measures under the severe category of the Graded Response Action Plan, which lists measures to prevent air pollution — like the closure of the Badarpur thermal power plant in the city — will kick in from October 15, the SC-appointed body has directed.
“There are a series of measures listed under the graded response action plan. Any activity with respect to this will be under the scanner of these teams. We will focus on bad days and bad areas in terms of air pollution,” the CPCB official said.
If pollution levels oscillate between poor and moderate, the measures to be enforced under GRAP include strict ban on garbage burning, closing brick kilns, mechanised sweeping of roads, enforcing ban on fire-crackers, among others.
If pollution climbs to the next level, very poor, tougher measures are to be enforced including hike in parking fees by up to 4 per cent, banning diesel generator sets and increasing frequency of metro.
“In Delhi, some measures under the ‘very poor’ air quality category — like ban on trash burning, coal and firewood use in commercial kitchens and brick kilns — were implemented in January, right after the plan was notified. However, tougher measures, such as hiking of parking fees and blanket ban on diesel generator sets, weren’t possible to be enforced at that point of time,” a government official said.