EPCA: Pol­lut­ing ac­tiv­i­ties to be banned in hot spots only

Hindustan Times (Noida) - - METRO - HT Cor­re­spon­dent htre­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

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.

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