‘Early’ GRAP to keep pollution in NCR at bay Stagger office hours to fight bad air, LG asks Kejriwal
Full Scheme In Force From Oct 15; Haryana Told To Focus On Waste Burning Construction sites fined 45L in 3 days
New Delhi: In no mood to take any risk this year, Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority chairman Bhure Lal has asked Delhi and its neighbouring states to start enforcing the basic measures mentioned under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) without any delay. To ensure that pollution levels stay under control in the region, some of the measures falling under the first category of the plan should be taken now itself. GRAP is to be enforced in the capital from October 15 onwards this year.
On Wednesday, EPCA held a meeting with the officials from Haryana through videoconferencing and asked them to strictly enforce night patrolling and prevent open waste burning. “We carried out field visits in Haryana last week and found instances of waste burning at several locations. Pitch black smoke was also recorded at several industries. During the day, they may be using PNG, but they switch to other fuels at night. This was happening in Faridabad and Panipat, and we asked Haryana to implement night-patrolling at all locations,” Lal told TOI.
“The basic measures suggested to these states fall under the first category of GRAP. They include prevention of waste burning, checking for pollution in industries, enforcing dust control Impose heavy fines to stop garbage burning
Enforce pollution regulations in all industries
Stop plying of visibly polluting vehicles
Implement dust control norms, particularly at construction sites
Water fly ash ponds every alternate day
norms and doing mechanised sweeping among others. If done properly, pollution will stay under control,” said Lal.
“Details of the places where rubber waste, municipal waste and plastic waste had been dumped in the open were also provided to the Haryana pollution control board on Wednesday, directing for immediate action against the violators.”
The Supreme Court-appointed EPCA has been taking meetings with several states over the last two weeks
to assess preparedness over implementation of GRAP. Lal will meet the officials concerned in Delhi on Friday.
EPCA member Sunita Narain said that the instructions are being provided to the states to simply ensure better implementation and that they are well prepared to enforce GRAP. “There will be no need to enforce measures falling under the higher categories if these are enforced properly,” said Narain.
GRAP has a series of immediate and emergency measures, spread out across four categories — ‘moderate to poor,’ ‘very poor,’ ‘severe,’ and ‘severe plus’.
Each category will automatically be enforced from October 15 onwards, depending on the air quality. While the first ‘moderate to ‘poor’ category includes measures like stringent enforcement of PUC checks, prevention of waste burning and regulating polluting industries, measures like shutting down of diesel generator sets and enhancing parking fees kick into place when it reaches the ‘very poor’ category’.
The ‘severe’ and ‘severe plus’ categories include stringent measures like shutting down hot mix plants and stone crushers, intensifying public transport, stopping entry of trucks into Delhi, stopping construction activity and even implementing the odd-even scheme.
Last year, GRAP was enforced on October 17, with measures under both these categories automatically being implemented. New Delhi: Lieutenant governor Anil Baijal on Wednesday asked chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to look into the possibility of having staggered office hours in the capital to combat congestion and air pollution.
“Discussed measures to reduce air pollution and congestion in Delhi. Requested to explore amongst other measures, option of staggered opening/ closing hours of offices & other establishments to reduce congestion and resultant air pollution,” Baijal later tweeted.
Kejriwal tweeted that he had requested Baijal to direct the departments under his jurisdiction to ensure interdepartmental coordination with the government for the odd-even road rationing scheme from November 4 to 15. The CM also wrote that he had briefed Baijal about the steps planned to reduce air pollution. “He assured us of his support and suggested that opening/closing hours of offices be staggered. The govt will definitely implement this,” Kejriwal added.
In 2016, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had directed Delhi and other states in the national capital region (NCR) to consider introduction of flexible office timings to reduce peak-hour traffic. CPCB had hoped that flexible hours would reduce to-and-fro peak-time traffic and congestion in NCR. Last year, too, a CPCB task force member had said a proposal of pushing back school timings by two hours and bringing up market and office timings on high pollution days was discussed.
According to a government statement released on Wednesday, Kejriwal requested the LG for hassle-free implementation of the odd-even scheme like in 2016, when it was introduced.
Earlier this month, the CM announced a seven-point action plan containing various measures to combat high-level of air pollution “caused due to stubble burning in the neighbouring states” during winter. This included odd-even, mass distribution of masks, mechanised sweeping and water sprinkling on roads, tree plantation and specialised plans for 12 pollution hotspots in the city. New Delhi: The Delhi Pollution Control Committee on Wednesday said it had imposed fines of Rs 45 lakh on construction sites in the capital that had not taken adequate dust control measures. The pollution control body started the crackdown on Monday, and warned construction sites of closures if corrective measures are not taken.
“Since Monday, 23 sites were inspected and a total fine of Rs 45 lakh was imposed on agencies who failed to take appropriate action to prevent dust emission. In some instances, the penalty went up to Rs 5 lakh. Failure to adopt corrective measures will result in enhanced penalties,” said DPCC in a statement.
The pollution control body said that several teams have been constituted to specifically monitor construction hotspots and arterial roads where there is heavy movement of traffic, leading to dust emission. Officials say the drive will continue through the winter and if corrective measures are not taken at sites, the sites will be shut down by them.
“The impact of dust becomes only worse during winter as the dust particles get trapped in the air, making it even more important to curb dust emissions,” said a DPCC official.