Delhi’s battle against air pollution has intensified as the city braces for a possible deterioration in air quality. According to the daily Air Quality Index (AQI) Bulletin by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi’s average AQI on 21st October, 2023, stood at 248. A press release was issued on this issue on the same day.
As per forecasts by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), unfavorable meteorological and climatic conditions are expected. In response to this alarming forecast, the Sub-Committee for operationalization of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) of the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR & Adjoining Areas (CAQM) convened a meeting to assess the air quality scenario in Delhi-NCR.
To prevent further worsening of air quality, the Sub-Committee for operationalization of GRAP has decided to invoke an 11-point action plan, aligning with Stage-II of the revised GRAP, across the entire National Capital Region (NCR).
Under Stage-II of the revised GRAP, all relevant agencies are urged to implement measures to combat ‘Very Poor’ air quality, in addition to the actions already in place under Stage-I of GRAP. This decision is aimed at addressing the pressing need to mitigate the impending air quality crisis.
The committee has called upon the Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) of NCR states and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to ensure the successful and stringent implementation of actions under both Stage-I and Stage-II of GRAP during this period.
The Sub-Committee also encourages citizens to follow the Citizen Charter under GRAP and contribute to the effective implementation of measures designed to sustain and improve air quality. These measures include using public transport, minimizing personal vehicle use, following less congested routes, and regularly changing air filters in vehicles. Additionally, citizens are advised to avoid dust-generating construction activities and open burning of solid waste and biomass.
In addition to invoking Stage-II of GRAP, the committee has also initiated an 11-point action plan as part of Stage-I of GRAP, effective immediately across the entire NCR. These measures include daily mechanical/vacuum sweeping and water sprinkling on identified roads, enforcement of dust control at construction and demolition sites, intensified remedial actions in air quality hotspots, power supply management to discourage the use of generators, synchronized traffic movements, and alerts in various media outlets regarding air pollution levels and best practices.
Furthermore, measures to enhance CNG and electric public transportation services, increase parking fees to discourage private transport, and provide electric heaters to security staff to prevent open biomass and municipal solid waste burning have been introduced.
The Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR & Adjoining Areas is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to assess the air quality scenario regularly in the coming days. The revised schedule of GRAP is available on the Commission’s official website for reference.