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
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
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%).