Task force on curbing pollution in Delhi-NCR recommends targeting areas with foulest air

The task force comprising members from CPCB, state pollution control boards, health experts and meteorologists, recommended on Tuesday that government agencies adopt a hotspots-first approach while tackling pollution in Delhi-NCR.

delhi Updated: Dec 05, 2018 10:29 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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Commuters seen along a busy road amid smog at Indraprastha Extension, in New Delhi, on Tuesday, December 4, 2018. The AQI in Delhi was at 356 on Tuesday, up from Monday’s 328.(Sushil Kumar/HT PHOTO)

The multi-agency task force, headed by the Central Pollution Control Board, on Tuesday recommended that during air pollution emergencies, the authorities should enforce mitigation measures in areas where the air is the foulest. The task force has identified 15 such hot spots in Delhi and another six in the National Capital Region (NCR) towns.

“It was suggested that should the air pollution breaches the severe mark again, industrial and construction activities would be first banned in these hot spots. If this measure fails to improve the air, then such activities would be banned across Delhi or NCR,” a member of the task force said.

In November, the Supreme Court-appointed body Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority had banned construction activities across Delhi-NCR for 12 days, along with a ban on entry of trucks and industrial activities in Mundka.

The task force comprising members from CPCB, state pollution control boards, health experts and meteorologists, recommended on Tuesday that government agencies adopt a hotspots-first approach while tackling pollution in Delhi-NCR.

“Civic bodies and other agencies in Delhi and NCR towns — Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar — have been asked to take focused action in hot spot areas,” a member of the task force said.

The decision came at a time when the national capital is reeling under a spell of “very poor” air, as per the air quality index (AQI) recorded by the CPCB. The AQI in Delhi was at 356 on Tuesday, up from Monday’s 328.

Government agencies on Tuesday informed the CPCB that the air quality is unlikely to improve at least for the next four days.

Several of the listed hot spots such as Anand Vihar, CRRI Mathura Road, Mundka and Wazirpur had already entered the severe zone by late Tuesday. Places such as Burari, Punjabi Bagh and Ashok Vihar, which were not listed as hot spots, also had severe levels of pollution.

Some places in the NCR such as Ghaziabad, Sector 125 in Noida, and Bhiwadi in Rajasthan were also reeling under severe levels of pollution.

The task force was also informed that toxic fumes released from burning of electronic and electrical waste is turning Loni-Bhopura, an area located near the Delhi-UP border into a pollution hot spot.

“Officials of Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board have been asked to inspect the area and take pollution control measures,” a senior official of the CPCB said.

Government agencies such as SAFAR and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune have forecasted that pollution levels could rise further on Wednesday.

“The low wind speed and low ventilation index (factors that determine how fast pollutants are dispersed) are not favourable. The pollutants are getting trapped and pollution is increasing gradually,” a scientist from IITM said.

While a wind speed of more than 10km/hour and a ventilation index of 6,000sqm/sec is considered to be favourable for Delhi, currently, the wind speed is around 5km/hour and the ventilation index is around 4,000sqm/ sec.

First Published: Dec 05, 2018 10:29 IST