In response to the rapid deterioration of air quality in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR), the Commission for Air Quality Management has taken immediate steps to address the critical situation. The direction dated October 6, 2023, for the revised schedule of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) has been invoked with immediate effect from 2nd November, 2023.
The Sub-Committee, responsible for implementing actions under the GRAP, convened a meeting on November 2, 2023, to comprehensively review the air quality scenario in the region. Based on the data, the Sub-Committee observed a significant increase in the Air Quality Index (AQI) for Delhi since the morning of November 2, 2023. By 5:00 PM, the average AQI for Delhi had reached 402, and this figure was expected to rise further due to highly unfavorable meteorological and climatic conditions.
In response to this alarming trend, the Sub-Committee decided to implement all actions outlined in Stage III of the GRAP, which is categorized as “Severe” Air Quality. The Delhi AQI is currently ranging between 401-455. These actions are in addition to those already in force in Stage I and Stage II.
Key measures to be implemented under Stage III of the GRAP include:
- Intensifying the frequency of mechanized and vacuum-based road sweeping.
- Daily water sprinkling with dust suppressants before peak traffic hours on roads and heavy traffic corridors, ensuring proper disposal of collected dust.
- Enhancing public transport services and introducing differential rates to encourage off-peak travel.
- Strictly enforcing a ban on construction and demolition activities in the NCR, with exceptions for certain critical categories of projects.
- Halting operations of stone crushers and brick kilns.
- Imposing restrictions on the use of BS III petrol and BS IV diesel LMVs (4-wheelers) in certain districts.
- Decisions by state governments and GNCTD regarding physical classes in schools for young children.
Citizens are urged to follow the GRAP measures and actively participate in maintaining and improving air quality in the region. Recommendations include using sustainable transportation options like cycling, carpooling, and public transport, working from home if possible, refraining from burning coal and wood for heating, and combining errands to reduce trips. These collective efforts aim to address the pressing issue of air quality and safeguard public health in Delhi-NCR.