Winter pollution: Grap implementation for air quality to start from Friday
Officials said that a Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) to prevent deterioration of air quality during winter will be implemented from October 15, following directions from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on Tuesday.
The CPCB, in its first meeting on Grap, said that some of the actions under the ‘very poor’ category should commence from October 15 in the National Capital Region (NCR).
States and cities in the NCR were suggested to implement 10 measures — stopping coal/firewood use by hotels and open eateries, augmenting bus and Metro services, including frequency of operation, stringent checks on garbage burning in landfills and other places, including the imposition of heavy fines, closing all brick kilns, periodic mechanised sweeping and water sprinkling on roads with heavy traffic and dust generation potential, enforcing PUC [pollution under control] norms and rules for dust control in construction activities, by penalising motorists or impounding vehicles causing pollution and closing non-compliant construction sites, respectively, and deploying traffic police for smooth traffic flow at points vulnerable to jams.
According to the minutes of the meeting, the member secretary of CPCB, who chaired the meeting said that “with onset of winters, implementing agencies must intensify efforts to control air polluting activities.”
“Sub-committee deliberated on the meteorological conditions and actions under Grap. It was agreed that in addition to actions under ‘poor’ to ‘moderate’ category, some of the actions under ‘very poor’ category should commence from 15th October, 2021, though the AQI is expected to remain in ‘satisfactory’ to ‘moderate’ category,” states the minutes of the meeting.
Very poor air quality is recorded when the level of particulate matter having a diameter less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) is between 121-250 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) or when PM10 level is between 351-430 µg/m3. Under Grap, the use of diesel generator sets is stopped when air quality dips to the very poor category.
S Narayanan, the member secretary of Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB), said, “From October 15, Grap is being implemented in NCR districts of the state and the Grap subcommittee on Tuesday decided that measures to tackle deteriorating air quality should be implemented, before it dips to very poor category due to onset of winter and other local sources. Review meetings will keep happening on a regular basis and more directions will be issued in the coming weeks.”
In Gurugram, 18 areas have been identified by the state pollution control board as hotspots for vehicular emissions and traffic congestion. These areas include Iffco Chowk, Rajiv Chowk, Subhash Chowk, Vatika Chowk, Delhi-Gurugram border at Sirhaul, among other places.
Officials said that action regarding the operation of diesel generator sets will be taken up in the next meeting, given the satisfactory to moderate AQI in NCR cities at present. The date for the next meeting is yet to be decided.
A total of 40 departments, including the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram, Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority, Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran and transport department, among others, will be responsible for the implementation of measures under Grap, under the supervision of the HSPCB.
Apart from stopping the use of diesel generator sets, measures like surge in parking fee by three to four times, stopping use of coal or firewood in eateries and urging people with respiratory or cardiac problems to stay inside; are measures implemented when the AQI dips to the very poor category.
On Tuesday, Gurugram recorded an AQI of 184 (in moderate category), according to the CPCB’s air quality bulletin, and the primary pollutants were PM 2.5 and PM 10.
Meanwhile, light rain is expected on October 17 and 18, due to which the AQI is likely to remain in the moderate or satisfactory category for the next four to five days.