Haryana pollution body suggests fewer trips, tells people to stay indoor
Gurugram: For the second consecutive day, pollution levels remained in the severe category in the city, which forced the pollution authorities to recommend a series of measures, including reducing number of private vehicles on the road and limiting outdoor activities.
The AQI was recorded at 441 on Saturday, slightly lower than the 448 registered on Friday. The air quality monitoring stations in the city recorded a reading of 451 at Gwal Pahari, 438 at Teri Gram, 445 at Vikas Sadan, and 431 at sector 51. Experts said a combination of low windspeed, temperature drop and farm fires contributed to severe pollution levels.
To check the high pollution levels, the Haryana State Pollution Control Board officials on Friday issued directions that recommendations of the sub committee on graded response action plan (Grap) on pollution must be implemented strictly.
The sub-committee on Grap, in a written order, advised the government and private offices to reduce vehicle use by at least by 30% by focusing on work from home option, promoting car pooling and optimising field activities. It also advised people to reduce outdoor activities and minimise exposure to pollutants. The board, however, directed all implementation agencies to closely monitor actions being taken by various agencies and submit daily report to respective pollution boards.
“Some of the directions under Grap are mandatory and some are advisory in nature, like pushing for more public transport and reducing use of private vehicles. The implementing agencies must monitor action taken and ensure compliance,” said S Narayanan, member secretary, Haryana State Pollution Control Board.
Gurugram’s air quality plummetted into the “very poor” AQI on Diwali, on November 4. For the next three days, the air quality dipped into “severe” category, which implies that the air quality is hazardous and may cause respiratory effects even to healthy people and serious health impacts to people with lung or heart diseases. Gurugram’s air improved slightly to “very poor” on November 8, and has now deteriorated again into the “severe” category.
On Saturday, the IMD recorded wind speed at 12-13kmph, double the 6kmph recorded on Friday. The minimum temperature touched 11.3 degrees Celsius (°C) on Saturday, three degrees lower than normal, and the maximum temperature was 25.5°C.
Dr Anurani Sharma, associate professor, Teri School of Advanced Studies, said that the dip in temperature will be a regular feature for the next 15-20 days as a result of which the pollutants in the air will not dissipate and AQI will remain in the ‘severe’ or ‘very poor’ category. “The increase in wind speed can help in moving the pollutants away from Delhi-NCR but the situation is likely to remain grim as the local pollution is quite large and urgent steps are needed to curb it,” she said.
In a related development, the department of town and country planning swung into action on Saturday and issued notices to 10 owners in DLF phase one for violating NGT norms and not taking measures to check pollution during construction.
“The plot owners have kept the building material in open and have not covered the construction site with proper tin sheds and were causing pollution in the nearby areas. Considering the condition of Air Quality department is keeping vigil on the construction sites and violators are being penalised ,” said RS Bhath, district town planner, enforcement.