- CPCB imposed several restrictions on industries on December 21
- Odd-Even may be implemented if the air pollution crisis continues
- Several areas in Delhi-NCR recorded alarming levels of air pollution
New Delhi: It does not look like Delhi will be able to shrug off the ghost of air pollution even as 2017 paves way for 2018 to begin. The air quality in the capital worsened on December 21, going from ‘severe plus’ to ‘emergency’ category. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which is the apex body for monitoring national pollution levels imposed ‘severe’ category restrictions and directed Delhi authorities to be prepared to implement the Odd-Even formula.
As a part of the ‘severe’ category restrictions, brick kilns, hot mix plants and stone crushers, generator sets will remain closed till January 31, 2018. The closure of these units will coincide with the ASEAN summit, scheduled to be held in Delhi between January 19 and 30. The CPCB hopes that air pollution will be under control during the summit if these measures are in place.
Keeping the ASEAN summit in mind, a CPCB control task force headed by a member secretary ordered the closure of coal based industries such as the Badarpur Power Plant to remain shut from January 15 to 13, 2018. The National Capital Region (NCR) will witness ‘severe-plus’ restrictions under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), if air quality remains at severe levels.
Odd-even scheme, ban on construction and truck entry will be implemented in case the severe-plus situation prevails for 48 hours. We are observing the timeline. However till then severe category restrictions will stay in place anyway, at least till January 31,” said A. Sudhakar, Member Secretary, CPCB.
Many areas in and around Delhi were reeling with severe air pollution on December 31. The air pollutant particulate matter (PM) 2.5, crossed the 300 limit across all locations at NCR. Since the weather related complications are not under the authorities’ or CPCB’s control, the pollution control board is doing its best to ensure that man-made conditions are under control during the ongoing air pollution crisis.
The implementation of Odd-Even is a part of the GRAP, which is to automatically become operational when air pollution hits severe high levels. During the November 2017 air pollution crisis, the Delhi government had initially announced the implementation of Odd-Even, but the National Green Tribunal (NGT)barred the Delhi government from implementing the scheme, as it exempted two-wheelers and women from being a part of Odd-Even. The NGT said that there was no point in bringing in Odd-Even with such exemptions. With the present air pollution crisis reaching severe levels, it can be hoped that Odd-Even, without any exemptions, will prove to be effective in tackling the capital’s pollution crisis.
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With inputs from IANS