Pol­lu­tion down. It’s not a win by any means Win­ter is com­ing: Dust con­trol, night pa­trolling two key plans

CM In­vites Sug­ges­tions; Cites Stub­ble Burn­ing As Huge Threat

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - [email protected] times­group.com Ri­[email protected] times­group.com

New Delhi: With Delhi’s peak pol­lu­tion sea­son just round the corner, chief min­is­ter Arvind Ke­jri­wal has in­vited sug­ges­tions from res­i­dents to tackle the sit­u­a­tion. The CM said peo­ple can send their sug­ges­tions on the email ID “cm4­[email protected]” till Septem­ber 12.

Dur­ing win­ter, there is ram­pant stub­ble burn­ing by farm­ers in the neigh­bour­ing states of Haryana and Pun­jab mak­ing the city air un­breath­able. Ke­jri­wal said be­tween Oc­to­ber 25 and Novem­ber 20,

FIGHT­ING BAD AIR

154 μm3

stub­ble burn­ing in­creases pol­lu­tion lev­els in the na­tional cap­i­tal by al­most 30%.

“Delhi be­comes a gas cham­ber ev­ery year with the ad­vent of win­ters, mainly due to stub­ble burn­ing. We want peo­ple to tell us the pos­si­ble steps that can be taken to save our­selves from the harm­ful ef­fects of air pol­lu­tion,” the CM said, adding that his gov­ern­ment will present a de­tailed pol­lu­tion ac­tion plan af­ter study­ing the sug­ges­tions.

Ke­jri­wal also said that he had met the Haryana CM and Union en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter and both had as­sured him of pos­i­tive steps in this re­gard.

Quot­ing data and find­ings of Delhi Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Com­mit­tee and Cen­tral Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Board, Ke­jri­wal said that air pol­lu­tion in Delhi had “re­duced and sta­bilised” by 25% be­tween 2016 and 2018 com­pared with the lev­els recorded be­tween 2012 and 2014. A CSE re­port re­leased last week, from which Ke­jri­wal quoted the data, men­tioned that the av­er­age PM2.5 read­ing dur­ing 2012-14 was 154 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­tre, which re­duced to 115 μg/m3 dur­ing 2016-18.

“Sim­i­larly, the num­ber of days with se­vere plus-level pol­lu­tion (more than 300 μg/ m3) ranged be­tween 20-40 days dur­ing the win­ter months dur­ing 2012-14. Dur­ing 2016-18, this re­duced to less than 15 days,” the CM said, adding that it proves that the steps taken by the agen­cies con­cerned were in the “right di­rec­tion”.

The CM said that safe or good days, when the air qual­ity in­dex meets the PM2.5 stan­dard, from April to Au­gust had also in­creased. Dur­ing 2012-14, the to­tal num­ber of low pol­lu­tion days were just 12, while it in­creased to 205 in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

One of the big­gest rea­sons be­hind the re­duc­ing pol­lu­tion lev­els was 24x7 sup­ply of elec­tric­ity, which pre­vented the use of diesel gen­er­a­tors, Ke­jri­wal said. He claimed that al­most five lakh DG sets used to cause one tonne of pol­lu­tion in just two hours. “A CSE re­port says that 30-50% of Delhi’s pol­lu­tion was be­cause of the diesel gen­er­a­tors,” he added.

The con­struc­tion of the east­ern and west­ern ex­press­ways, which di­vert non-des­tined com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles away from Delhi, dust con­trol mea­sures at con­struc­tion sites, in­crease in the city’s green cover, clo­sure of Badarpur and Ra­jghat ther­mal power projects and im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Supreme Court-man­dated graded re­sponse ac­tion plan (GRAP) were other rea­sons that brought down pol­lu­tion lev­els, Ke­jri­wal said.

“At present, there are 40 air qual­ity mon­i­tor­ing sys­tems op­er­at­ing in Delhi to get real-time pol­lu­tion data. Soon, we will pro­cure 4,000 buses, which will also re­sult in re­duc­tion in the pol­lu­tion lev­els,” the CM said.

Ke­jri­wal said the re­duc­tion in pol­lu­tion lev­els was only pos­si­ble be­cause of a slew of mea­sures taken by the AAP gov­ern­ment and the Cen­tre and the ef­forts of other agen­cies, in­clud­ing the civic bod­ies, En­vi­ron­ment Pol­lu­tion (Pre­ven­tion & Con­trol) Au­thor­ity, CSE, the peo­ple of Delhi and the or­ders is­sued by Supreme Court. New Delhi: Dust sup­pres­sion mea­sures, night pa­trolling to keep a check on open burn­ing of waste and mi­cro-level plan­ning at pol­lu­tion hotspots are among the key mea­sures that au­thor­i­ties in­tend to take ahead of this win­ter to en­sure that Delhi’s bad air doesn’t turn worse.

Road-own­ing agen­cies and the Pub­lic Works De­part­ment will iden­tify stretches where dust sup­pres­sants need to be put into use, as per the di­rec­tions is­sued by the Delhi chief sec­re­tary at a meet­ing held with Cen­tral Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Board and mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tions. The meet­ing, held on Wed­nes­day, to dis­cuss the Win­ter Ac­tion Plan stressed on the need to fo­cus on dust and open burn­ing of waste, key con­trib­u­tors to air pol­lu­tion in the city.

“The in­dus­tries de­part­ment will sub­mit the sta­tus on ac­tion taken in the Maya­puri in­dus­trial area and the ac­tion plans for Wazir­pur and Okhla. It will pre­pare a ros­ter duty chart of 24 hours of of­fi­cials to check open burn­ing in in­dus­trial ar­eas and sub­mit de­tails of pros­e­cu­tion launched, penal­ties im­posed and vi­o­la­tions recorded,” the min­utes of the meet­ing quoted the chief sec­re­tary as say­ing.

Last year, CPCB had put up a list of hotspots in NCR. Those in Delhi in­cluded Anand Vi­har, Bawana, CRRI Mathura Road, DTU, Dr Karni Singh Shoot­ing Range, Dwarka Sec­tor 8, Ja­hangir­puri, Mundka, NSIT Dwarka, Narela, Okhla PhaseII, RK Pu­ram, Ro­hini, Shadipur and Wazir­pur. In neigh­bour­ing ar­eas, the key ar­eas were Sec­tor16A Faridabad, Vikas Sadan, Gur­gaon, Haryana, Va­sund­hara (Ghazi­abad), Knowl­edge ParkIII, Greater Noida Sec­tor 125, and RIICO In­dus­trial Area III, Bhi­wadi. Au­thor­i­ties have been asked to step up vigil at th­ese lo­ca­tions.

“Last five years’ trend of PM10 and PM2.5 for the crit­i­cal win­ter months, start­ing from Oc­to­ber till March, were also pre­sented (dur­ing the meet­ing). The CPCB mem­ber sec­re­tary ex­pressed con­cern over the need for proac­tive steps that will be re­quired to be taken by all agen­cies for air pol­lu­tion con­trol to avoid four con­sec­u­tive years of se­vere-plus air qual­ity (sic),” the min­utes added.

With the peak pol­lu­tion sea­son barely a month away, agen­cies have been di­rected to keep a check on all its sources.

Ac­cord­ing to a source ap­por­tion­ment study by IITKan­pur in 2015, the top four con­trib­u­tors to PM2.5 emissions in Delhi are road dust (38 %), ve­hi­cles (20 %), do­mes­tic fuel burn­ing (12 %) and in­dus­trial point sources (11%). The top four con­trib­u­tors to PM10 emissions are road dust (56%), con­crete batch­ing (10%), in­dus­trial point sources (10%) and ve­hi­cles (9%).

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