Govt marks 8 new pollution hot spots in Delhi | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Govt marks 8 new pollution hot spots in Delhi

Oct 24, 2023 05:52 AM IST

The new areas, which join the existing 13 hot spots, are Shadipur, ITO, Mandir Marg, Nehru Nagar, Patparganj, Sonia Vihar, Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, and Moti Bagh.

The Delhi government has identified eight new bad air hot spots in the city for which action plans will be formulated and where special teams will be deployed to monitor sources of pollution, officials announced a day after the national Capital logged its first ‘very poor’ air quality day.

Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai during a high level meeting on air pollution in New Delhi on Monday. (HT Photo)
Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai during a high level meeting on air pollution in New Delhi on Monday. (HT Photo)

The new areas, which join the existing 13 hot spots, are Shadipur, ITO, Mandir Marg, Nehru Nagar, Patparganj, Sonia Vihar, Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, and Moti Bagh.

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“Deputy commissioner rank officers from Municipal Corporation of Delhi will be appointed as nodal officers at all eight locations . Special field teams will also be deployed there. Joint inspections with the Delhi Pollution Control Committee will be held to identify sources of pollution in these areas,” environment minister Gopal Rai said after a review meeting.

Delhi first identified 13 pollution hot spots in 2018 because these locations consistently had a higher annual PM 2.5 concentration than Delhi’s average. These were Anand Vihar, Mundka, Wazirpur, Jahangirpuri, RK Puram, Rohini, Punjabi Bagh, Okhla, Bawana, Vivek Vihar, Narela, Ashok Vihar, and Dwarka.

HT reported on Sunday that several other locations such as Nehru Nagar, Lodhi Road, Patparganj and Alipur have recorded PM 2.5 levels that were similar or even higher than the existing hot spots.

Rai said that the 13 areas were earmarked as they consistently recorded poorer air than the average AQI reading for the city. However, he added, it was seen during monitoring of air pollution in the city that eight more areas were recording similar AQI data.

The government will map local pollution sources such as road dust, vehicular congestion, construction, biomass or garbage burning in these areas, the minister said. “We will identify sources. Separate winter action plans have been formulated for the 13 hot spots and similar plans will be developed for the eight additional areas. Field inspections will be carried out on October 25 at these 21 hot spots.”

Delhi’s air quality improved slightly on Monday to settle in the poor zone (AQI reading of 268) compared to very poor on Sunday (AQI 313). According to experts, it was mostly because of better wind speed and clearer skies during the day.

Earlier this month, DPCC and the state environment department jointly identified 103 critical sources of local pollution across the 13 hot spots, fixing which, officials said, would be a priority this winter. At least 19 of 103 sources were traffic congestion points within the 13 locations.

Officials said on Monday that district collectors have been instructed to conduct field visits on October 25 and ensure the strict implementation of pollution mitigation measures at all these spots. “Directions have also been issued to use dust suppressant powder in anti-smog guns to prevent dust pollution. The anti-dust campaign will be strengthened, and more field visits will be conducted,” Rai said.

Meanwhile, experts welcomed the move to identify more areas for focussed efforts to combat air pollution.

Sunil Dahiya, analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), said that identification of more hot spots in a progressive step which would help reduce air pollution at these sites, as well in the city as a whole.

He, however, added that similar proactive steps should be taken to act at pollution sources outside Delhi. “A large share of pollution comes from sources located outside the city. There should be better management of stubble, power generation plants and industrial areas in order to reduce pollution in Delhi. We need to tackle the sources in a holistic manner focussing on the entire region,” he added.

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