Delhi pollution: Shut industries not running on PNG, orders CAQM
Intensifying action against polluting industries operating in the National Capital Region (NCR), the Commission for Air Quality Management in Delhi-NCR and adjoining areas (CAQM) on Tuesday ordered immediate closure of all industries located in areas where PNG (piped natural gas) infrastructure and supply are available, but they have still not switched over to the cleaner fuel.
“As per the directions of the commission, these violating industries and industrial units will not be permitted to schedule their operations till December 12, and the position will be reviewed for further decisions,” CAQM said in a statement on Tuesday.
The statement added, “Despite the measures taken in different sectors towards improvement of air quality of Delhi-NCR, the air quality still remains in ‘very poor’ to ‘severe’ category. Keeping in view the need to enforce strict actions against the deteriorating air quality of the region, the commission believes that there is an urgent need to take further preventive measures, as a matter of extreme emergency and abundant caution.”
In a set of directions issued on November 16, CAQM ordered all industries in the NCR having access to gas infrastructure to not run on any other fuel, failing which they will be shut down. It was also directed that all industries in NCR where gas connectivity is available will immediately be shifted to gas and state governments were asked to provide details of their switch to the cleaner fuel.
In December last year, the commission directed all industrial units in Delhi to switch over to piped natural gas by January 31, 2021. About 1,600 of the industrial units spread across 50 industrial areas in Delhi were then identified for the switch over to PNG. The commission stressed the need to switch over by all identified industries in Delhi, saying use of other fuels is one of the major contributors to air pollution in Delhi and the NCR.
More than 1,800 old vehicles were impounded and over 25,000 polluting vehicles were fined in Delhi between November 17 and December 6, the latest action taken report assessing the pollution control measures by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has shown.
“The pollution control drive was carried out in two stages. The report of the action taken between November 17 and November 25 has already been submitted before the Supreme Court and the CAQM. The second phase, carried out between November 26 and December 6, will be submitted on December 8 (Wednesday),” a senior official of the DPCC said on Tuesday.
As Delhi witnessed its most polluted November since 2015, when the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) started recording the air quality index for the Capital, the Supreme Court the CAQM issued detailed measures for Delhi and NCR states to curb the rising pollution levels. These steps included a ban on the construction activities, closure of all schools, colleges and educational institutions, ban on the entry of trucks carrying non-essential items into Delhi and scheduled operations for thermal power plants operating in the NCR.
According to the DPCC assessment, 1,882 aged vehicles (diesel vehicles older than 15 years and petrol vehicles older than 10 years) were impounded in the city since November 17, when CAQM issued a set of restrictions for Delhi and NCR states to control the rising air pollution levels in the region.
Besides this, 25, 616 polluting vehicles or those vehicles that did not have the Pollution Under Control certificates were also fined.
The review showed that at least 15,324 trucks carrying non-essential items were stopped at various Delhi borders. The DPCC said fines or notices were issued at 2,650 construction and demolition sites where violation of anti-dust measures were found, senior DPCC officials said.
“We have also taken stock of how agencies have fared in using mechanised sweepers and water sprinklers in their areas to control road dust. We have asked all bodies to increase action,” the DPCC official said.
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