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Gurugram air quality deteriorates, constructions halted for 2 days

Air quality index dips from 308 to 485. Graded response plan to be implemented if the situation worsens.

gurgaon Updated: Jun 15, 2018 10:08 IST
Prayag Arora-Desai
Prayag Arora-Desai
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
Gurugram,Gurgaon air pollution,Gurgaon air quality
The last released AQI puts Gurugram at 'Very Poor' air quality of 308, at National Highway 48, in Gurugram, India, on June 14, 2018. (Yogendra Kumar/ Hindustan Times)

The air quality in Gurugram deteriorated on Thursday, prompting the district administration to prohibit all construction activity in the city till Saturday.

The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) advised the deputy commissioners of 14 NCR districts in Haryana to tackle rising pollution by adopting measures such as waste incineration, sprinkling water to help particulate matter settle, identifying roads where excessive dust is being kicked up, increasing mechanised cleaning of roads and clamping down on the preparation of concrete and tar for the next 48 hours.

“The district administration will ensure the compliance of these guidelines,” Vinay Pratap Singh, deputy commissioner, Gurugram, said in a text message to HT.

He said the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG), department of town and country planning department and the district pollution control board will have to follow the guidelines. He advised residents to ensure that no construction work is carried out in the next two days.

On Thursday, the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) air quality index (AQI) for Gurugram was 485, which worsened from 308 on Wednesday.

The level of PM2.5, however, slightly dipped to 483.33ug/mg3 (micrograms per cubic metre of air) from Wednesday’s 572.93ug/ mg3, which was the highest daily reading of 2018.

PM2.5 continues to be the primary air pollutant in Gurugram, according to the CPCB. This is due to strong, dust raising winds blowing towards the NCR from Rajasthan, officials said.

Singh said the CPCB’S Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) will be implemented if the level of pollutants remains in the more than severe category for 48 hours.

In a meeting between Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) and HSPCB officials on Thursday in Faridabad, Dr PK MK Das, the HSPCB’S regional officer for Faridabad, said, “The meeting was originally convened to discuss the problem of sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions in Faridabad district, but given the nature of the situation, we were also directed by Sunita Narain and Bhure Lal of EPCA to manage the dust issue.”

Das added that the meeting was attended by regional officers from Haryana’s NCR districts. Besides Gurugram, these guidelines have been issued to Faridabad, Jhajjar, Panipat, Rohtak, Palwal, Jind, Karnal, Bhiwani, Mahendragarh, Charkhi Dadri and Nuh.

The additional municipal commissioner of the MCG, YS Gupta, said that the MCG had already started to enforce necessary steps to curb pollution. “We have roped in four tankers and four fire tending vehicles to sprinkle treated water across the city. We have also formed 35 teams to keep a watch on garbage burning and construction waste. Two fines for open dumping of construction debris were issued today,” Gupta said.

Jai Bhagwan Singh, the HSPCB’S regional officer for Gurugram, said that those violating the HSPCB’S advisory would be penalised.

Residents, however, are sceptical of EPCA and the HSPCB’S approach to the problem.

Neetu Jain, a city-based pulmonologist, said, “In October last year, at least 25,000 of us had petitioned the EPCA to take necessary steps to curb increasing particulate matter in the air. We even identified seven different sources of these pollutants, including garbage burning and construction debris. Authorities should have taken preventive measures then, instead of behaving in this reactionary manner now.”

The director general of health services in Haryana has also been directed to issue a separate health advisory “to the general public on the precautions to be taken during the dust storm.” The HSPCB said it would be monitoring the situation “for the next 48 hours and will advise on further steps.”

An official in the Indian Meteorological Department said there is a possibility of a shower between June 17 and 18.

First Published: Jun 15, 2018 10:07 IST