EFFORTS SHOWING RESULTS
In past, the air-pollution level in Delhi was deteriorating with every passing day but now the efforts of the Government to control the situation have started showing positive results. As per Bulletin provided by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi’s overall Air Quality Index (AQI) clocked 213 as per 4 PM AQI. In view of remarkable improvement in overall AQI of Delhi since invocation of Stage-III of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) and also considering the meteorological/ weather forecasts by IITM/ IMD, the Sub-Committee for invoking actions under GRAP of the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR & Adjoining Areas (CAQM) met to review the current air quality scenario. While reviewing the overall air quality parameters of Delhi-NCR and other aspects, the Sub-Committee noted that forecasts by IMD/ IITM do not indicate the overall AQI of Delhi to slip into ‘Severe’ category in the coming days and is likely to fluctuate between ‘Poor’ and ‘Very Poor’ categories. Therefore, it is felt advisable to relax the stringent restrictions and roll back Stage-III of GRAP with immediate effect in the entire NCR. The overall AQI of Delhi has remarkably improved from the level of 434 (‘Severe’ category) observed on 09.01.2023 to 213 (‘Poor’ category) recorded on 15.01.2023. The preventive/restrictive measures under Stage-III of GRAP invoked on 06.01.2023 (when Delhi’s overall AQI reached 400) might have also helped stabilizing the AQI levels thus improving the overall air quality of Delhi-NCR. Forecast by IMD/ IITM also does not predict the AQI levels reaching the ‘Severe’ category in the coming days.
Based on earlier decisions of the Sub-Committee for invoking actions under GRAP, preventive/ restrictive actions up to Stage-III of GRAP are already in force vide order dated October 5, 2022 for Stage-I; order dated October 19, 2022 for Stage-II; and order dated January 6, 2023 for Stage-III respectively. Stage III & Stage IV of GRAP have been imposed and thereafter revoked from time to time by the GRAP Sub-Committee based on the prevalent air quality scenario in Delhi. Furthermore, as the actions under GRAP especially from Stage-III to Stage-IV are essentially an emergency response and are disruptive in nature impacting a large stratum of society, the Sub-Committee, accordingly decided to revoke the order, issued vide dated January 6, 2023 for implementation of actions under Stage-III of GRAP with immediate effect. Allactions under Stage-I to Stage-II of GRAP shall however remain invoked and be implemented, intensified, monitored and reviewed by all agencies concerned in the entire NCR to ensure that the overall air quality of Delhi-NCR does not deteriorate further in the coming days. All implementing agencies shall keep strict vigil and especially intensify measures under Stage I & II of GRAP like mechanical/vacuum-based sweeping of roads to be carried out on a daily basis, ensuring water sprinkling along with use of dust suppressants (at least every alternate day) on roads to arrest road dust especially at hotspots, heavy traffic corridors, vulnerable areas (before peak hours) and proper disposal of dust collected in designated sites/landfills, regular inspection and strict enforcement of dust control measures at C&D sites, discouraging usage of coal /firewood including in Tandoors in Hotels, Restaurants and open eateries, ensuring hotels, restaurants and open eateries use only electricity / clean fuel gas-based appliances, enhancing parking fee to discourage private transport, banning usage of Diesel Generators except for emergent and essential services and regulate their use for industrial applications.
C&D project sites and industrial units which have been issued specific closure orders on account of violations/ non-compliances of various statutory directions, rules, guidelines etc. under no circumstances shall resume their operations without any specific order to this effect from the Commission. Further, the Commission has once again appealed to the citizens of NCR to cooperate in implementing GRAP. Various agencies responsible for implementing measures under GRAP and Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) of NCR and DPCC have also been advised to ensure strict implementation of actions of Stage-I and Stage-II under GRAP in the NCR to prevent deterioration of air quality. Further, the Commission shall be keeping a close watch on the air quality scenario in the coming days for appropriate decision on GRAP. The revised schedule of GRAP is available on Commission’s official.