Haryana govt nod for plan to cut pollution in Gurugram by 35%
The Haryana State Pollution Control Board’s air quality action plan for Gurugram, which aims for a 35% reduction in PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations by 2022, received in-principle approval from the state government on Friday. The plan will now be sent for approval to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), and is expected to be implemented before the end of this year.
However, the HSPCB has requested minor revisions in the action plan for Faridabad.
These developments were discussed in a meeting with the HSPCB chairman in Panchkula on Friday, where Kuldeep Singh, HSPCB’s regional officer in Gurugram, and JB Sharma, regional officer, Faridabad, were appointed as the nodal authorities to oversee the implementation of the plans.
The HSPCB prepared detailed action plans for both cities, with short-, mid- and long-term solutions to curb air pollution, in accordance with the Centre’s National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) and a last year’s order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which directed all non-attainment cities in India (that do not conform to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards) to prepare road maps for reducing air pollution levels.
S Narayanan, member secretary, HSPCB, said, “The aim of both plans is to reduce the quantum of pollutants by 35% within three years. Detailed objectives for different bodies have been included. It will have to be a coordinated effort, with each stakeholder taking accountability for their tasks.”
In Gurugram, the plan ascribes specific tasks to various stakeholders, including the HSPCB itself, as well as the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG), National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the road transport authority, the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC), the traffic police, the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), the Public Works Department (PWD), and the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN), among others.
“We have consulted with all the stakeholders who have committed to various timelines as part of the action plan. We will now send it to the Centre for approval, and will begin implementing it shortly. We are also awaiting words on what the Centre’s financial contribution towards this plan will be,” Singh said.
JB Sharma, on the other hand, said, “We have been asked to make some revisions to the plan with regard to the role of the Faridabad municipal corporation. The updated draft will be submitted on Monday and we are expecting approval by next week.”
The HSPCB’s draft plan for Gurugram (a copy of which is with Hindustan Times) states that there are five major sources of air pollution in the city — vehicles, road dust, biomass and waste burning, industries, and construction activities. For each, different goals have been assigned to authorities concerned to mitigate the source’s contribution to air pollution.
Under the ‘vehicles’ category, for example, there are over 20 such goals, which include implementing a ban on diesel autos over 10 years old (short-term), creating an effective city-wide parking policy and strengthening infrastructure for non-motorised transport (mid-term), and implementing an NCR-wide bus service and para-transit system (long-term). The most number of objectives in the plan have been allocated to the transport sector, and will be entrusted to the traffic police, the road transport authority, and the NHAI, among others.
To prevent biomass and waste burning, the HSPCB has said that nearly all goals are to be implemented in the short-term. The goals include the “aggressive” implementation of the Solid Waste Management Rules (2016), identifying and preventing incidents of stubble burning, community participation in segregating and composting waste, and adherence to a “5 R Policy”— refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot.
Additionally, there are nine objectives prescribed for industries, such as the adoption of cleaner technology in brick kilns, ensuring adherence to emissions standards, ensuring the use of only legal fuels, installation of air pollution control devices in industrial units, and a state-wide ban on tyre pyrolysis plants. “Several of these steps have already been implemented by the HSPCB,” said the regional officer (Gurugram).
Further, to curb pollution from construction sites, the HSPCB has proposed restrictions on construction and demolition activities in affected areas, the “proper following of the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) guidelines for construction of national highways / state highways/ village link roads / rail overbridges/ underpasses/ colony lanes, etc.”, and using premixed mortar to eliminate storage of loose raw materials on site.
The HSPCB’s action plan also proposes health impact assessments for Gurugram, in which hospital records would be used to determine the link between air quality and the number of patients admitted with heart and lung issues. These objectives are to be implemented in the mid-term.
The plan also calls for various research steps, which experts believe are long overdue for Gurugram that was recently accorded the title of the world’s most polluted city (concerning particulate matter concentrations) in a study by Greenpeace and Swiss software company AirVisual.
These steps include preparing an emissions inventory for the city and carrying out a source apportionment study (along the lines of the one conducted for Delhi by IIT Kanpur in 2015). “This study will take into account the regional nature of pollution in the city, considering the larger air shed of about 300 square kilometres,” said HSPCB scientist Rajesh Garhia.