Delhi air still ‘severe’, construction work to stop from June 15-17
Gurgaon sees most polluted day since November
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-
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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.