The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) Sub-Committee that oversees the implementation of the measures outlined in the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) the 8-point action plan was re-implemented on Friday under Stage-III of the plan across Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) with immediate effect amid declining air quality.
At 8:30 a.m., the relative humidity is at 100 percent, while the AQI at 10 a.m. continues to be in the worst category, registering 397. At 4 p.m., the AQI is in the severe category of 409.
The order said, Today, the average Air Quality Index AQI in Delhi clocked at 409 as per the daily AQI Bulletin issued by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Due to the sudden drop in the overall air quality in Delhi since the morning of the date, the Sub-Committee for the operation of the Graded Response Action Plan met today.
It added, Unfavorable meteorological and climatic conditions including fog and hazy conditions along with low wind speed are the main reasons behind the sudden increase in the daily average AQI in Delhi. .
The order also states that the Stage-III curbs are in addition to the restrictions under Stage-I and Stage-II of GRAP.
What is banned and what is allowed under the new restrictions?
- The order asks agencies to increase the frequency of mechanized or vacuum-based street sweeping.
- It said that daily spraying of water with dust suppressants on roads, hotspots, and heavy traffic lanes should be done. Proper disposal of collected dust in designated areas or landfills should be ensured.
- Public transport services should be strengthened. Agencies have also been asked to introduce differential rates to encourage outbound travel.
- CAQM has asked the governments to implement a strict ban on all construction and demolition activities across the NCR, except for projects for railway services, railway stations, metro rail services and stations, airports and inter-state bus terminals, national importance, hospitals or health care. facilities, highways, roads, flyovers, over bridges, power transmission/distribution, pipelines, sanitation projects and ancillary activities.
- The order asks the authorities to prohibit the creation of dust or air pollution that causes construction and demolition activities including earthwork for excavation and filling including boring and drilling works; structural construction works including fabrication and welding operations; demolition works; loading and unloading of construction materials in or out of project areas; transfer of raw materials either by hand or by conveyor belt; movement of vehicles on unpaved roads; batching plant operation; laying sewer line, water line, drain work and electric cable through an open drainage system; cutting and repairing floor materials; milling activities; piling work; water proofing work; and road construction repairs.
- However, activities that do not pollute and do not generate dust such as plumbing works, electrical works, works related to carpentry, interior fittings, finishing, and decoration works (no including painting, polishing and varnishing works) are allowed to continue.
- The order demanded that the operations of the stone crushers be shut down.
- All mining and related activities in NCR are closed.
- The order also asked all NCR state governments to impose strict travel curbs on BS III petrol and BS IV diesel LMVs (four-wheelers) in Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabad, Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar.
- State governments have been asked to decide whether or not to stop physical classes in schools for children up to Class V and conduct online classes.
What are citizens advised to do?
The CAQM mandate asks citizens to:
- choose a cleaner way to commute and share a ride to work or use public transportation.
- People, whose companies allow working from home, are asked to use it.
- People are asked not to use coal and wood for heating.
- Individual home owners are requested to provide electric heaters to their security staff during the winter to prevent open burning.
- People are also advised to combine their tasks and reduce multiple trips.
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