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Ban on all construction activities as Ghaziabad two points short of ‘severe plus’ pollution

The AQI figure of 499 was based on fine particulate matter (PM)2.5 concentration. The standard limit for PM2.5 is 60 micrograms per cubic metre.

noida Updated: Nov 09, 2017 23:16 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
Delhi pollution,odd even scheme,Delhi smog
Many schools have already stopped outdoor activities and are also taking other measures to protect children. (Sunil Ghosh /HT Photo)

The Ghaziabad administration has taken several measures to combat rising pollution but the air quality index (AQI) from the Central Pollution Control Board shows that Ghaziabad is on the brink of an “air emergency”.

On Thursday, it was again the most polluted city across the country with an AQI of 499, just two points short of the ‘severe plus’ category (AQI above 500).

The AQI figure of 499 was based on fine particulate matter (PM)2.5 concentration. The standard limit for PM2.5 is 60 micrograms per cubic metre.

In view of the severe air conditions, the administration on Thursday ordered the temporary stoppage of all construction activities, including private projects, where debris is generated.

The officials said the Hindon elevated road and the Metro work will be reviewed to see if they have any ongoing construction activity.

“The directions will be in place till further orders. Projects like those being executed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) may also fall under the ambit of the restrictions. We will speak to their officials,” said Ritu Maheshwari, district magistrate.

The temporary ban has been all mining activities, ferrying of construction material, operation of hot mix plants and sale and use of fire crackers (for the wedding season), among others.

All classes up to standard 8 has been shut till November 12.

“The closure will be applicable to all schools up to standard 8 in the district till November 12,” said Ritu Maheshwari, district magistrate.

Earlier, classes up to standard 5 were ordered to shut on November 8 and 9. Many schools have already stopped outdoor activities and are also taking other measures to protect children.

“We have placed limestone in water bowls. These bowls are placed in all 110 rooms in our school and have improved the air quality as it absorbs pollutants. This experiment was done by our school earlier as part of the project taken up for the United Nations Information Centres,” said Jyoti Gupta, principal , Delhi Public School Ghaziabad, Meerut Road.

Already, the administration is in an unprecedented action mode and has ordered sprinkling of water on 20 major roads, ban on small construction activities, shutdown of hot mix plants and curb on diesel generators operating in open areas, among others.

The Ghaziabad development authority also cracked down on construction sites flouting the April 2015 directions of the National Green Tribunal. A total of 77 CNG buses were pressed into service for commuting till Delhi border areas.

However, residents have failed to get any respite and are preferring to stay indoors.

“I bought two air purifiers two years ago and now bought two more with updated features. A purifier is installed in each room. These cost me Rs 17,000 to Rs 34,000 each. It is only because of these gadgets that we are finding relief inside our house, else the conditions are alarming outside,” said VK Mittal, a resident from Kaushambi.

The Ghaziabad development authority on the third consecutive day penalised 19 private developers and collected a fine of Rs 5.8 lakh for flouting construction site norms.

Those penalised included a contractor of the Eastern Peripheral Expressway project. He was fined Rs 50,000.

Since October 30, this is the fifth day when the city has topped the pollution charts across the country.

First Published: Nov 09, 2017 23:16 IST