Air quality management: Old vehicles to be impounded on roads ahead of winter pollution spike
The traffic police will start a drive from Wednesday to impound old vehicles plying in violation of environmental norms ahead of the winter season, officials said.
Orders issued by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2015, as well as the Supreme Court in 2018, state that diesel vehicles older than 10 years and petrol vehicles older than 15 years cannot ply in the National Capital Region (NCR) due to high levels of air pollution. In July 2016, the Haryana government also passed a similar order, banning such vehicles in Gurugram, Faridabad, Sonepat and Jhajjar districts.
“Adhering to the NGT directions and ahead of the stubble burning season, from Wednesday onwards, traffic police is going to launch a full-scale drive against petrol and diesel vehicles older than 15 and 10 years, respectively. The drive is being launched keeping air quality management across NCR in mind. Owners of such vehicles have been directed to either replace such vehicles or sell it as scrap material,” Ravinder Singh Tomar, the deputy commissioner of police (DCP), traffic, Gurugram police, said.
According to Gurugram traffic police officials, they have impounded 640 such vehicles from 2018 to September 20, 2021. Officials said that 208 vehicles have been impounded for the offence this year.
Tomar said that personnel have been directed to impound old vehicles plying on roads and take the same to the nearest police station. In addition, a challan of ₹5,000 will also be generated against the offender on the spot and the owners will only be returned the vehicles if they agree to scrap them.
In October and November, air pollution levels in the city surge drastically as farmers in northern states follow a common practice of setting their paddy fields afire to remove the leftover stubble after the harvest to prepare the soil for sowing the next crop. Such is the impact of the stubble burning that air quality levels are often 30-35 times higher than the permissible limit across the NCR.
This period coincides with the onset of winter, when particulate matter remains suspended close to the ground due to low wind speeds and smog. Vehicular pollution in the city further compounds the problems during these months.