The National Green Tribunal on Wednesday proposed the constitution of a committee to prepare an emergency action plan to combat air pollution.
“We propose a committee comprising chief secretaries of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, who shall meet once in two months and prepare an action plan for implementation of directions on air pollution,” a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said on a day when air quality in the national capital improved with minimal or no smog in the morning. .
The green panel asked the state governments to classify different levels of pollution while asking the chief secretaries to take disciplinary action against officials who were not executing the orders on air pollution.
The bench said the committee could meet in places like Delhi, Lucknow or Chandigarh and any decision taken in these meetings will apply to all the five states.
The NGT further proposed a sub-committee comprising secretaries of environment, urban development, central pollution control board (CPCB), state pollution board, which would report to the main committee and submit report on implementation of the decisions taken by the panel.
The bench, however, said it would pass its order on pollution matters on Thursday.
Pollution experts attributed the improvement in weather to wind speed gaining momentum and blowing from the west region instead of the north-west region, which is the hotspot of stubble burning.
SAFAR recorded the average (24-hour rolling) of respirable pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 as 246 and 405 micrograms per cubic metre, respectively, both in ‘very poor’ category but better than last few days.
The 24-hour prescribed average of these ultrafine particulate matters (PM) are 60 and 100 micrograms per cubic metre, respectively.
“The conditions are going to be favourable for dispersion of pollutants for the next few days. Air quality will further improve tomorrow,” a SAFAR official said.
Central Pollution Control Board, however, recorded Delhi’s air quality index (day’s average) in the severe category.
Dust control ops
The Public Works Department (PWD) has launched a massive dust control operation, in which all footpaths, kerbs and central verges are being washed using water jets through tankers.
“As many as 54 tankers have been deployed on arterial roads. Presently as per the traffic restriction, these tankers are deployed between 11am to 4pm only. Each tanker can make two trips on an average,” said a PWD official.
Schools to reopen
The Delhi government announced on Wednesday that all municipal corporation-operated schools will reopen on Thursday.
After the smog continued for a week after Diwali, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday had asked all schools to shut down for three days. Municipal corporations had, in fact, closed all schools starting last Saturday. Schools under South Delhi Municipal Corporation, which were earlier scheduled to remain shut till November 12, will also open on Thursday.