Delhi pollution: L-G Jung announces crackdown on old vehicles, entry of trucks
Delhi lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung announced a raft of measures on Monday to tackle rising air pollution in the Capital that has created a thick blanket of smog hanging over the city.Breathless in Delhi Updated: Nov 08, 2016 09:52 IST
All 15-year-old diesel vehicles will be de-registered and a temporary ban on construction activities was extended till November 14 as the Delhi government struggled to contain the city’s worst pollution in nearly 17 years.
These were part of steps that lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung added on Monday to the list of anti-pollution measures the chief minister announced this weekend.
Jung convened an emergency meeting with chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy, Manish Sisodia, bureaucrats, pollution control board officials, and environmental experts on a day the city’s air quality improved marginally with the wind picking up speed.
The wind dispersed pollutants and blew away the thick cover of hazardous haze that shrouded the city for nearly a week post-Diwali. Visibility also improved and city basked in sunshine after several days.
But, according to pollution monitoring agency SAFAR, the 24-hour average level of PM 2.5 — tiny particulate matter that reaches deep into the lungs — remained in the “severe” category at 622 micrograms per cubic metre on Monday.
That is nearly 30 times a mean guideline of 25 micrograms per cubic metre on average over a 24-hour period set by the World Health Organization (WHO), which says outdoor air pollution killed 3.7 million people globally in 2012.
The 24-hour-average air quality index (AQI) recorded by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) was 423 as against Sunday’s 497, which was the season’s worst.
The smog forced the government to take urgent measures, though environmentalists said these were too little, too late.
- Deregistration of 15-year-old diesel vehicles
- MCD asked to take all measures to control fire in landfills
- Ban on construction/demolition activities extended from 7th to 14th November
- Overloaded trucks and non-destined trucks not to be allowed in Delhi
- Polluting industries running to be shut down
- Ban on crackers in Delhi, other than religious functions
The de-registration exercise will keep around 200,000 vehicles off the road, officials said.
Overloaded trucks and those not destined for Delhi are barred from entering the city.
The lieutenant governor also banned firecrackers during weddings and other events, but religious functions were exempted.
Delhi’s worst smog in 17 years, which is making children wheeze, giving the healthy a chronic cough, and risking 18 million people to asthma, heart disease, stroke, and even cancer, has prompted the US embassy to place a slew of measures for its staff.
The embassy building in the Capital has put supplementary air filtration units.
“We are very concerned by the continuing poor air quality in New Delhi and its impact on the health of our community and the larger public,” embassy spokesperson Joseph Kruzich said.
The pollution failed to dissuade Chhath revellers from bursting firecrackers early in the morning, though.
The lieutenant governor’s office also ordered municipal corporations and Delhi police to jointly crack down on polluting industrial units in the city and contain garbage burning at landfill sites, particularly Bhalaswa, where fires are rampant.
The Union environment ministry also convened a meeting of ministers from Haryana, Punjab and other northern states which have been accused of not enforcing a ban on farmers burning crop stalks after harvest.
The Delhi government has alleged that the main cause of the city’s smog was farm fires in the neighbouring states.
(With agency inputs)