Pollution body sounds high alert, wants reduction in use of private vehiclesUpdated: Dec 05, 2019 23:00 IST
As the air turned toxic late on Thursday evening, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)-led taskforce recommended that people cut down the use of private vehicles and has asked all implementing agencies to be on ‘high alert’.
The central pollution watchdog has also warned that air quality may plunge further by Friday morning and is likely to remain similar over the next five days. This is mainly because of low surface wind speeds and a dip in mercury allowing little ventilation. Besides, presence of moisture from easterly winds is allowing the trapping of local sources of pollution.
“Air quality may plunge further on Friday morning. We have issued an advisory, asking people to cut down use of private cars and instead try using more of public transport. I myself have not been using my car and have instead been taking the Metro most of the times. It can have a small yet significant impact on the overall air quality and people are urged to cooperate in such initiatives as its going to benefit their own health,” said Dr TK Joshi, health expert of the CPCB-taskforce, who chaired Thursday’s meeting.
Emissions from vehicles and waste burning, besides other such sources, largely contribute to the concentration of high PM 2.5 levels – the most harmful aerosols in Delhi’s air — said Joshi. He added that these short episodes of spike in pollution levels may worsen the condition of those suffering from respiratory diseases.
Earlier, during a review meeting with the implementing agencies on Tuesday, the CPCB had said that December and January have seen a higher number of days in the “very severe” category over the last three years.
“Similar situation may emerge this year as well, unless timely and preventive action is taken by implementing agencies,” the minutes of the meeting held on December 3 stated.
Also, N K Gupta, Additional Director, CPCB, pointed out that a large number of incidents of construction and demolition activities and open dumping of garbage were still being reported from some parts of Delhi and neighbouring towns such as Ghaziabad and Faridabad on the Sameer app.
As per CPCB data, PM 2.5 levels in Delhi were 245ug/m3 at 8 pm, almost over four times the safe limit. As per Indian standards, the safe limit of PM 2.5 levels is 60ug/m3.
The CPCB-taskforce met on Thursday in the wake of deteriorating air quality where it asked implementing agencies to take “stringent” measures to control polluting activities, such as sprinkling of water and mechanical sweeping of roads, to suppress dust emissions.
There is already a blanket ban on construction and demolition activities in Delhi-NCR following a Supreme Court order on November 6.
Also, the task force said that enforcement activities be intensified particularly in ‘hot spot’ and industrial areas. Delhi has 13 identified pollution hotspots.
On November 16, the CPCB-taskforce had lifted its temporary ban on polluting industries — coal-based and those that have not switched to PNG (piped natural gas), after air quality had improved.