Like Beijing and Paris, Delhi and NCR, too, has a graded response system for pollution now. But not all measures in the system will be enforced immediately.
The Environment Pollution Control and Prevention Authority (EPCA) on Friday enforced the recently notified graded action plan for the “moderate to poor” category. As the air quality deteriorated to “moderate to poor” category on Friday, a ban on garbage burning and firecrackers, closing brick kilns, mechanised sweeping of roads were some measures that were enforced.
“In days to come, there will be a more organised enforcement of rules cleared by EPCA,” a senior official in Delhi Pollution Control Committee said.
The odd-even road rationing scheme, a measure that can be implemented when the air turns “severe” in emergency levels, however, wasn’t discussed at the Friday meeting. “We will have to enhance the capacity of the local pollution control boards. The ground reality is complex and the mechanism to enforcing odd-even will be highly challenging,” an official said.
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 — will be immediately implemented. But tougher measures, such as hiking of parking fees and blanket ban on diesel generator sets, won’t be enforced as of now.
The Delhi government has been asked to come up with a parking policy and the city police told to impose heavy fine on vehicles illegally parked by amending the Motor Vehicles Act.
“We won’t let the apocalyptic smog, which was witnessed in Delhi last year, occur again. All the states should prepare local-level action plans,” EPCA chairman Bhurelal told senior officials from the ministry of environment and forests, Central Pollution Control Board, all the respective state pollution control boards, and the MeT department on Friday.
The Union environment ministry last week in a notification assigned the task of implementing the plan to the EPCA under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
The comprehensive plan prepared by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) — which focuses on Delhi and 22 NCR districts — was submitted to the Supreme Court on December 2. The apex court has since accepted the plan and asked Centre to notify it.