Delhi air still ‘se­vere’, con­struc­tion work to stop from June 15-17

Gur­gaon sees most pol­luted day since Novem­ber

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New Delhi: Delhi’s air qual­ity re­mained “se­vere” for a sec­ond straight day on Thurs­day with PM10 lev­els hov­er­ing around seven times the safe stan­dard and “hazy” con­di­tions across the cap­i­tal.

Till 3pm on Thurs­day, it had al­ready been 39 hours sin-

FULL COV­ER­AGE: P2&3

ce PM10 lev­els had crossed the “emer­gency”, or “se­vere plus”, limit un­der the Graded Response Ac­tion Plan of 500 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­tre as it hov­ered close to 800 mi­cro­grams, forc­ing the lieu­tenant gov­er­nor to im­pose cer- tain mea­sures and pre­cau­tions af­ter an emer­gency meet­ing. The mea­sures in­cluded direc­tions to stop all civil con­struc­tion ac­tiv­ity in the cap­i­tal from June 15 to 17.

DELHI GUR­GAON GHAZI­ABAD

Ac­cord­ing to the IMD, dust is likely to re­main hang­ing in the air over the next two days though some im­prove­ment can be ex­pected Fri­day on­wards.

The emer­gency meet­ing was chaired by the LG and in­volved agen­cies like the PWD, DMRC, DPCC, for­est depart­ment, and EPCA, along with en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter Im­ran Hus­sain. “We are stop­ping all civil en­gi­neer­ing con­struc­tion ac­tiv­i­ties in Delhi from 15th June 2018 to 17th June 2018. Mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tions, DPCC and all con­struc­tion agen­cies will en­force this. In ad­di­tion, agen­cies en­gaged in con­struc­tion ac­tiv­i­ties, like DMRC, NBCC, NHAI, MCDs and oth­ers, shall strictly en­force dust con­trol mea­sures at their re­spec­tive con­struc­tion sites as well,” said a state­ment by Raj Ni­was.

This was the first such meet­ing where an AAP min­is­ter came face to face with the LG af­ter the sit-in protest was started by CM Arvind Ke­jri­wal and three other min­is­ters de­mand­ing ac­tion from the LG against the IAS of­fi­cers on strike. Shortly be­fore the meet­ing, en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter Im­ran Hus­sain tweeted, “I have also called a meet­ing on en­vi­ron­ment is­sue in Delhi in my of­fice at 3:00 pm but hon’ble @Lt­Gov­Delhi has also called a meet­ing on the same is­sue at same time i.e 3:00 PM in his of­fice. I am go­ing to at­tend the said meet­ing at LG of­fice.”

CPCB mem­ber sec­re­tary A Sud­hakar, who also led a meet­ing of the CPCB task force on Thurs­day, said direc­tions to take pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures had been is­sued to all chief sec­re­taries. “We are al­ready see­ing a drop in pol­lu­tion lev­els and we ex­pect Thurs­day Wedes­day Strictly pro­hibit open burn­ing of garbage, plas­tic and leaves bet­ter air qual­ity on Fri­day due to these sus­tained ef­forts. No meet­ing has been planned for Fri­day; one will be called only if the sit­u­a­tion wors­ens,” Sud­hakar said.

EPCA mem­ber and Cen­tre for Science and En­vi­ron­ment direc­tor gen­eral Su­nita Narain said the dust storm was al­ready show­ing signs of mov­ing away from Delhi but longterm plan­ning was re­quired to tackle dust pol­lu­tion.

Delhi’s over­all AQI was recorded at “se­vere” on Thurs­day as well with an AQI of 431, a In­ten­sify me­chan­i­cal road sweep­ing, sprin­kling of wa­ter on roads Stop all civil con­struc­tion ac­tiv­i­ties be­tween June 15 and June 17; Strictly en­force dust con­trol mea­sures Im­pose fine/ penal­ties on vi­o­la­tors slight drop from the read­ing of 445 on Wed­nes­day. Delhi’s PM 10 lev­els showed a slight drop from Wed­nes­day, de­creas­ing to 760 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­tre at 6 pm as com­pared to 823 mi­cro­grams at 6 pm on Wed­nes­day. How­ever, there was a slight in­crease in PM 2.5 lev­els. The Met Depart­ment said Thurs­day’s slight im­prove­ment could be at­trib­uted to an in­crease in mois­ture from 43% to 52% and a slight de­crease in the max­i­mum tem­per­a­ture which fell from 41.2oC on Wed­nes­day to 40.4oC. Gur­gaon: The Haryana State Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Board (HSPCB) is­sued a tem­po­rary ban on all con­struc­tion ac­tiv­ity in the city for the next 48 hours af­ter Gur­gaon saw its most pol­luted day since last Novem­ber’s haze trig­gered by stub­ble burn­ing. The city also recorded the worst air qual­ity in­dex in Delhi-NCR.

The high­est level of PM2.5 recorded was 617 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­tre (μg/m3), while air qual­ity in­dex (AQI) hit 485 (con­sid­ered ‘se­vere’). The AQI in Delhi, Farid­abad, Ghazi­abad and Noida, in com­par­i­son, were 431 (se­vere), 317 (very poor), 384 (very poor) and 390 (very poor), re­spec­tively.

With cli­matic con­di­tions not chang­ing much over the past 48 hours, the city has re­sem­bled a dust bowl. Thurs­day’s pol­lu­tion level was more than twice the peak PM2.5 level recorded the day af­ter Di­wali last year.

Ac­cord­ing to HSPCB of­fi­cials, this is an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion and they have im­ple­mented the Graded Response Ac­tion Plan (GRAP). “Sud­den in­crease in PM10 and PM2.5 has raised air pol­lu­tion level to the ‘se­vere plus’ cat­e­gory in the past 24 hours, as has been ob­served by our mon­i­tor­ing net­work. It is learnt that this is an out­come of the dust storm and winds com­ing from re­gions of Ra­jasthan and be­yond. We have, there­fore, is­sued in­struc­tions to shut all con­struc­tion ac­tiv­i­ties in the city for the next 48 hours,” said Shakti Singh, re­gional of­fi­cer, HSPCB (south). HSPCB has also sent an ad­vi­sory to the district ad­min­is­tra­tion, MCG and other civic au­thor­i­ties to im­ple­ment GRAP mea­sures.

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