Firemen make it rain at ITO, thanks to NGT’s sprinkling diktat
The sky in Delhi was clear and dry on Wednesday, but one small corner of the city saw some drizzle, thanks to the city’s firemen. At ITO, which the Delhi government identified as one of the most polluted corners of the city, firemen conducted a water sprinkling exercise in compliance with an order from the National Green Tribunal.
Delhi fire services on Wednesday followed the order by sprinkling water from Vikas Minar at ITO. The spraying, which was started around 4pm, was done for nearly an hour.
“We did this one-day exercise in compliance with NGT orders. Vikas Minar is the tallest building in the area and we sprinkled water from its roof for a little over 50 minutes. Tomorrow (on Thursday), the data of air quality recorded at the ITO monitoring station of the Central Pollution Control Board, of before and after sprinkling, will be submitted to the green court,” Atul Garg, additional director, Delhi Fire Services, told Hindustan Times.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar on Tuesday had asked Delhi government to identify one of the most polluted areas in the city to sprinkle water at and monitor the air quality there.
“We direct that NCT Delhi, all the Corporations and the PCBs shall identify by 4pm today the area which is highly polluted in NCT Delhi and other site and would ensure sprinkling of water by using appropriate equipments and if possible even through the helicopter to bring down the particulate matters in the ambient air quality.
“The values of that area should be recorded by the Boards and the IIT Delhi prior and 4-6 hours thereafter and at such intervals as the Expert may consider appropriate. This direction is necessitated for the facts that it is commonly conceded before us that it is a case of environment and public health emergency,” the order stated.
According to a senior Delhi government official, there was no plan, at present, for sprinkling water through helicopters. On Wednesday, a civil aviation ministry official said that sprinkling through helicopters was not feasible at the moment as guidelines need to be formulated first.
Experts say wet scavenging of pollutants, as the method is popularly known, is effective only when the source of pollution is confined to a limited area and the pollution is short lived.