Gurugram administration issues guidelines to combat air pollution this winter
The Gurugram administration on Friday issued directions to nearly 40 city-based agencies to combat air pollution in the district, ahead of the winter. The air quality plummets across the national capital region (NCR) during winters, every year.
According to the directions, which came into effect from Friday, all the departments concerned have to appoint nodal officers for ensuring enforcement of the action plan within 15 days.
It mentioned that large construction projects, including highways and metros, will provide undertakings to the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) within 15 days, that they will assure adherence to the prescribed norms for dust management in the district. Industries have also been instructed to provide an undertaking to the board that they will only use authorised fuel, and will not operate without adequate pollution control measures.
“Compliance of action plans on the identified pollution hotspots in Gurugram shall be ensured by all those concerned, and night patrolling shall also be done by teams constituted at the district level. Further, there should be enhanced vigilance at sources such as industrial stacks and garbage dumping as well as use of illegal fuels. All technologies to control dust emission, including smog-guns, should be used extensively,” according to the order.
The Gurugram administration order also mentioned that solid waste dumping issues have to be addressed on a priority basis. Along with these measures, the authorities concerned have been asked to sprinkle water on roads and streets in shifts -- both during days and nights -- and use mechanised sweeping machines to control the dust.
Kuldeep Singh, regional officer of HSPCB, Gurugram (north), said that directions have been issued to 40 agencies in the city, including Municipal Corporation of Gurugram, Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority, Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran, Haryana transport department, among others.
“All the authorities concerned have been asked to comply with the guidelines, and the nodal officers will submit action reports daily. With strict enforcement of all measures and regular night patrolling, we will be able to keep the air quality in check during the winter months. Strict action will be taken against the violators,” said Singh.
The main causes for pollution in Gurugram have been identified as dust pollution due to construction and demolition activities, vehicular pollution, and solid waste burning.
The pollution control board has identified 18 hotspots for vehicular air emissions or traffic congestion, 13 hotspots for road dust, 10 areas used for rampant solid waste disposal, and seven hotspots for industrial air emissions.
The board has now proposed a meeting to be attended by all the NCR districts, along with the Centre, for air quality management, within the next 10 days. They will review and finalise further action in this regard. The board has also set up dust control and management cells on the directions of the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM).
In January, 2021, the CAQM had reviewed the problems of road dust -- a major source of pollutants contributing significantly to particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM 10) in its second meeting. In a letter to all the NCR states, it had said, “Controlling dust pollution has been a major challenge and needs much more focused attention across the NCR.”
The commission had said that dust control and management cells must be set up with the specific task of monitoring and implementing dust control measures. Some dust control measures include mechanical cleaning and sweeping of roads and water sprinkling to reduce the dust pollution.
In December last year, the CAQM had also stressed on the need to develop and implement a standard set of methods across the NCR and adjoining areas for monitoring fire events.
The issue of stubble burning in these states becomes a major issue during the paddy harvesting season between October and November over the past years due to spikes in air pollution levels in Delhi-NCR. Farmers set their fields on fire to clear them of crop residue left behind after harvesting paddy and before cultivating wheat and potato. Farmers continue stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana as there is a short time window between paddy harvesting and sowing of wheat. Farmers also cite the high cost of manual or mechanical management of straw as a reason behind their preference to burn stubble.
Meanwhile, according to the Central Pollution Control Board data, the air quality in Gurugram dipped to the ‘moderate’ category on Friday, as compared to the ‘satisfactory’ category on Thursday. The city recorded an AQI of 102, with PM2.5 and PM10 as prominent pollutants on Friday.