EPCA: Polluting activities to be banned in hot spots only
NEWDELHI:THE next time air quality plummets in Delhi, authorities may not opt for a complete ban on construction and industrial activities across the National Capital Region (NCR), as was done in the first week of November.
Instead these activities may only be banned at ‘pollution hotspots’ initially, the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) said on Friday.
“We have received a recommendation from the task force headed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) that the next time air quality turns severe in Delhi, industrial activities should be shut down in those areas where the pollution levels were high. We are seriously considering this,” said Sunita Narain, member of EPCA.
Hindustan Times had earlier reported that the Cpcb-headed task force had recommended a ‘hotspot-first approach’ should the air quality in Delhi enter ‘severe’ zone again. If such a location-specific clampdown fails to improve the air quality, the ban would be extended to other parts of NCR, officials familiar with the matter said.
At least 15 such pollution ‘hotspots’ in Delhi and another six in the NCR towns have been identified, the official added.
In November, the EPCA had banned construction activities across Delhi-ncr for 12 days after air quality plummeted across NCR. Entry of trucks and industrial activities in Mundka were also stopped for a few days.
“Construction, industries and entry of trucks are all economic activities that cannot be banned across the city for too long a period. Hence, the proposal is to clamp down on such activities only in pollution hotspots where air quality is foulest,” a member of EPCA, who did not wish to be identified, said.
A ‘hotspot-based’ approach is however not new to Delhi. When the Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) was rolled out on October 15, this year EPCA had asked at least eight of its members to visit some of the most polluted spots in the city such as Anand Vihar, Punjabi Bagh, Mundka and CRRI Mathura Road and submit reports based on observations.
On Saturday, EPCA chairman Bhure Lal will visit some of the most polluted areas of Delhi including Nangloi, Tikri and Mundka. On Monday he will visit industrial areas of Narela and Bawana and on Tuesday he will visit Anand Vihar, officials said.