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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

Bi-weekly plan to tackle Delhi’s ‘critical pollution’ period

cities Updated: Oct 22, 2019 22:49 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustantimes
         

New Delhi

Authorities in Delhi are gearing up to tackle a ‘critical pollution period’, which is likely to start sometime next week.

While the Delhi government is busy procuring anti-pollution masks and finalizing its plan for staggered office timings, the Central Pollution Control Board would also be soon finalizing the bi-weekly action plan for the period of November 1 to November 15.

The state government is also coming up with a dust action plan, with the environment department identifying open lands from where dust pollution could be triggered.

Delhi government is going to distribute around five million N95 anti-pollution masks to students in government schools and private schools (Class 6 - 12). Each student will get two masks. On Tuesday, Kejriwal said, “Three truck loads of masks have already been delivered. We are awaiting more trucks. The distribution will start at the earliest.”

The bi-weekly plans, which are being implemented for the first time this winter, would suggest pre-emptive measures and will not just forecast how pollution can spike in the next fortnight. The plans will also tell which areas would encounter higher spikes, sources of pollution that need to be controlled, measures that should be enforced and by what percent the pollution could go down if the plan is implemented.

Four major areas that have been identified in the bi-weekly plan for the period November 1 – November 15 are stubble burning, vehicular pollution, industrial pollution and pollution from road and construction dust.

“We have received the plan prepared by IIT-Delhi. We are working on it. It will be finalized soon,” said a senior CPCB official.

Scientists from IIT-Kanpur, after analysing three years of pollution data, have said that the period October 29 to November 12 is crucial for Delhi as this is the period when air pollution spikes. Researchers from IIT-Delhi too had in 2018 said that October 29 to November 4 is the period when pollution spikes in Delhi.

Kejriwal also said that his government will chalk out a detailed plan on staggered office timings to be implemented during the 12-day odd-even scheme that begins on November 4.

On Tuesday, Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot chaired a meeting on staggered timings. Senior government officials said that the transport department is yet to chalk out the final modalities of the plan.

The government can issue directions only for offices under its jurisdiction, for Central government offices and private enterprises they can merely issue directives.

So far, the government has drafted a few plans on staggered timings. One of them suggest that offices in the city should be asked to shift working hours to 11am – 7.30pm from the standard 9.30am to 6pm.

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