New Delhi: Delhi logged just six days of ‘severe’ air quality in 2022, the lowest in the last seven years, according to Central Pollution Control Board data. The capital recorded 24 such days in 2021, 15 in 2020, 24 in 2019, 19 in 2018, nine in 2017 and 25 in 2016. An Air Quality Index (AQI) between 401 and 500 is considered ‘severe’. In December, Delhi’s AQI slipped into the ‘severe’ category on two days — the lowest in the month since 2017. The city breathed comparatively less polluted air in 2022 thanks to proactive implementation of anti-pollution plans and favourable meteorological conditions.
Also Read: Yearender 2022: Setting The ‘Clean Air’ Agenda For 2023, India Requires A Wider View Of Air Pollution Crisis
Delhi saw its second best air quality (average AQI 210) in October since 2015, when the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) started maintaining AQI data.
The data showed that the average AQI in November stood at 320, the second best after 2019 when it was 312.
The PM2.5 level this October-November was 38 per cent lower compared to the corresponding period in 2016, which was the worst in the last eight years, it stated.
Stubble burning, a major reason behind hazardous pollution levels in Delhi-NCR in October-November, reduced by 30 per cent in Punjab and 48 per cent in Haryana this year.
In July, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) unveiled a new policy listing sector-wise action plans to curb air pollution in Delhi-NCR in the next five years. A key component of the new policy is the revamped Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) which focuses on proactive implementation of anti-pollution curbs based on forecast.
Also Read: From Pink To Black, A Chest Surgeon’s First Hand Account Of The Impact Of Air Pollution On Lungs
According to the policy, which came into effect immediately, all thermal power plants located within a 300-km radius of Delhi will have to ensure compliance with emission standards set by the Union environment ministry.
The Centre’s air quality panel has also banned unapproved fuels, including coal, in industrial and commercial applications. The ban comes into force from January 1 and all defaulting establishments will be shut down straight away, without any warning, officials have said.
However, the use of low-sulphur coal in thermal power plants is allowed.
The CAQM has also directed Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana to register only CNG and electric autos from January 1 and complete the phasing out of the diesel ones in the National Capital Region (NCR) by the end of 2026. The objective is to ensure only CNG and e-autos ply in the NCR from January 1, 2027.
Also Read: Disease, Disability And Death: Impact Of Exposure To Air Pollution
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diarrhoea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.