New Delhi: After three days of a ten-day-long ‘Clean Air Campaign’, from November 1 to 10, launched by Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan to monitor and report polluting activities as well as to ensure quick action, a penalty of more than Rs. 1.64 crore has been imposed on violators of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). The pollution fine was imposed by the 52 teams deployed to monitor implementation of measures to combat pollution in the Delhi NCR under the Clean Air Campaign, the CPCB said on Sunday. These teams that were flagged off by Union Minister Harsh Vardhan on November 1 are visiting different parts of Delhi and adjacent towns of Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, and Noida.
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Owing to the increase in air pollution levels in National Capital Region, the Supreme Court in its order dated October 29 asked the CPCB to open a social media account where citizens can lodge their complaints regarding pollution in NCR. Complaints can also be lodged at CPCB website and via Sameer App, which can be downloaded in Android or IOS Mobile phones. “The citizens of Delhi-NCR are encouraged to be vigilant and report any violation of anti-pollution directives of EPCA,” asserted a CPCB spokesperson while talking to NDTV.
Table: No. of complaints received through social media and actions taken till date
|No. of Complaints||Action Taken/initiated ()|
|On 1st day||On 2nd and 3rd Day|
Source: Clean Air Campaign’s daily report http://cpcb.nic.in/cac/
A total of 203 complaints were received through social media and e-mail while 1,166 complaints were received through the ‘Sameer app’ that has been developed by the CPCB. However, against these many complaints, action has been taken against only 452 complaints. Out of 452, on-the-spot-action was taken to address 232 complaints.
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According to CPCB, maximum incidents of violations against which complaints have been lodged by the deployed teams have occurred in Delhi which is 978, followed by Faridabad (78), Ghaziabad (43), Gurugram (34), and Noida and Greater Noida(33).
The highest number of complaints were related to illegal construction and demolition activities, the CPCB said. A total of 535 complaints of construction and demolition activities were received in three days but only 176 challans have been imposed against these violations. This is followed by complaints against open dumping of garbage for which 130 complaints have been posted but only 9 challans have been imposed till now.
The third biggest problem against which the complaints have been posted is road dust. A total of 90 complaints have been posted and only 8 challans have been imposed. Other complaints included that of vehicular emission, traffic congestion, industrial emission, open or garbage burning, leaf burning, unpaved road/pits, fire in landfill sites, air pollution from generators among others, it said.
A senior official of CPCB,
Based on 316 complaints, a total fine of Rs. 83,55,000 was imposed on the third day itself, Rs. 41,82,500 on the second day and Rs. 38,68,500 on the first day, by 52 teams in the national capital which has witnessed deteriorating air quality in the past two weeks.
The teams comprise the local Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) as the team leader, senior officials from Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and representatives from CPCB, Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC).
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Delhi’s air pollution level dipped significantly by half on Sunday with ‘moderate’ AQI of 171 which was calculated by CPCB on the basis of 30 pollution monitoring station, while on Saturday 35 monitoring stations reported AQI of 340 which is “very poor”. The authority says it is due to control measures but System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), developed by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, warns of deterioration in air quality to “very poor” levels from Monday.
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GRAP measures that have to be taken by civil authorities as per the condition of the Air Quality include the sprinkling of water, cleaning of roads, halting all construction activities involving excavation, civil construction, closure of all stone crushers and hot mix plants generating dust pollution, stopping the usage of diesel gensets, shutting of schools in the case of emergency.
As per the order of Supreme Court dated December 2, 2016, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change notified GRAP under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and assigned its implementation to Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) on January 12 2017. GRAP would be implemented in compliance with the air quality management directives of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) as and when the air quality deteriorates.
GRAP is being implemented since October 15, when the air quality index of Delhi started moving towards the dangerous levels due to vehicular emissions coupled with stubble burning in the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab.
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NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.