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Air Commission lists suggestions to check air pollution in Delhi-NCR

 
New Delhi, Oct 14 (IANS) Starting Friday, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) for Delhi-NCR and surrounding areas has asked the concerned state governments to stop the use of coal/firewood in hotels and open eateries, among other suggestions to keep air pollution under check in the region.

There should be strict vigilance and no tolerance for visible emissions, the preventive suggestions said, adding, "Stop plying of visibly polluting vehicles by impounding or heavy fine."

The annual air pollution season has already started in Delhi-NCR and most parts of northwest India. Stubble burning/farm fires for agro-waste in Punjab and Haryana are among the many 'point sources of emissions' for increased air pollution in the region each year.

"In addition to actions under 'Poor' to 'Moderate' category, some of the actions under 'Very Poor' category should commence from Friday, though the Air Quality Index (AQI) is expected to remain in 'Satisfactory' to 'Moderate' category," a CAQM sub-committee said after deliberating on the meteorological conditions and actions under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

"It was the first meeting of the sub-committee of Air Commission for the operationalisation of GRAP which was held on October 12," an official said.

Prashant Gargava, member secretary of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), is the chairperson of this sub-committee.

"India Meteorological Department (IMD) scientist V.K. Soni was a special invitee for his inputs on meteorological forecast, which are important for informed decisions," Gargava said.

Light rains are expected on October 17 and 18, because of which the AQI is likely to remain in the 'Moderate' or 'Satisfactory' category for the next 4-5 days, the meeting was informed.

The other suggestions by the Air Commission include augmentation of bus and Metro services, including frequency of their operation; stringently enforce/stop garbage burning in landfills and other places and impose heavy fines on person responsible; stringently enforce all pollution control regulations in industries and power plants and ensure that all brick kilns remain closed in Delhi-NCR as per the directions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

The sub-committee also suggested ensuring periodic mechanised sweeping and/or water sprinkling on roads with heavy traffic and dust generation potential; strict vigilance and enforcement of Pollution Under Check (PUC) norms; stringent enforcement rules for dust control in construction activities and close non-compliant sites, and deployment of traffic police for smooth traffic flow at the identified vulnerable areas.

At 6 pm on Thursday, the AQI reading in Anand Vihar was 300, while it was 160 in ITO, 182 in Rohini, 144 in Pusa and 185 in Bawana, as per the CPCB.

An AQI of 100 to 200 is considered 'Moderate', while that between 201 and 300 is considered 'Poor'.

--IANS
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