Delhi’s overall Air Quality Index (AQI) clocked at 399 today as per the 4PM AQI Bulletin provided by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). In view of significant deterioration in air quality of Delhi-NCR in last 24 hours, the Sub-Committee for invoking actions under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) of the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR & Adjoining Areas (CAQM) held an emergency meeting today. During the meeting, the Sub-Committee comprehensively reviewed the air quality scenario in the region as well as the forecasts for meteorological conditions and air quality index of Delhi. While assessing the overall air quality parameters, the Sub-Committee noted that due to extreme unfavorable meteorological conditions the overall air quality of Delhi has deteriorated over last few hours and there is an increasing trend further in the coming days as per the Air Quality forecast of IMD/IITM. Therefore, it is considered necessary to put Stage-III of GRAP back in place with immediate effect in the entire NCR in an effort to prevent further deterioration of air quality in the region.
Based on earlier decisions of the Sub-Committee on GRAP, actions up to Stage-I and Stage-II of the GRAP are already in force vide orders dated October 5, 2022 and October 19, 2022 respectively. Actions under stage-III of GRAP were invoked on 04.12.2022 in the NCR, pursuant to a significant deterioration in the average air quality of Delhi and the Sub-Committee in its meeting held on December 07, 2022 reviewed the air quality scenario in the region and based on the improvement in the overall AQI of Delhi, the Sub-Committee revoked its order dated 4th December, 2022 vide order dated 7th December, 2022.
As per the dynamic model and weather/ meteorological forecast, the overall AQI of Delhi is expected to slip into ‘Severe’ category owing to calm wind and stable atmospheric conditions and is expected to deteriorate further, therefore, in an effort to prevent further deterioration of air quality in the region, the Sub-Committee has decided that all actions as envisaged under Stage III of the GRAP – ‘Severe’ Air Quality (DELHI AQI ranging between 401-450), be implemented in right earnest by all the agencies concerned, with immediate effect in the entire NCR. This is in addition to the preventive/ restrictive actions already in force under Stage-I and Stage-II of GRAP.
Accordingly, a 9-point action plan as per Stage-III of GRAP is applicable with immediate effect from today in the entire NCR in addition to preventive/ restrictive actions under Stage-I and Stage-II of the GRAP which are already in place. This 9-point action plan includes steps to be implemented/ ensured by different agencies and PCBs of NCR and DPCC. These steps are:
- Intensified frequency of mechanised/ vacuum-based sweeping of roads.
- Daily water sprinkling along with use of dust suppressants, before peak traffic hours, on roads and right of ways including hotspots, heavy traffic corridors and proper disposal of the collected dust in designated sites/ landfills.
- Intensification of public transport services. Introduce differential rates to encourage off-peak travel.
- Construction & Demolition (C&D) Activities:
(i) Enforce strict ban on construction and demolition activities in the entire NCR, except for the following categories of projects:
- Railway services / Railway stations
- Metro Rail Services including stations.
- Airports and Inter State Bus Terminals.
- National security/ defence related activities/ projects of national importance.
- Hospitals/ health care facilities.
- Linear public projects such as highways, roads, flyovers, over bridges, power transmission, pipelines etc.
- Sanitation projects like sewage treatment plants and water supply projects etc.
- Ancillary activities specific to and supplementing above categories of projects.
Note: The above exemptions shall be further subject to strict compliance of the C&D Waste Management Rules, dust prevention/ control norms including compliance with the directions of the Commission issued from time to time in this regard.
(ii) Other than the projects exempted under (i) above, dust generating/ air pollution causing C&D activities to be strictly banned during this period shall include:
· Earthwork for excavation and filling including boring & drilling works.
· All structural construction works including fabrication and welding operations.
· Demolition works.
· Loading & unloading of construction materials anywhere within or outside the project sites.
· Transfer of raw materials either manually or through conveyor belts, including fly ash.
· Movement of vehicles on unpaved roads.
· Operation of batching plant.
· Laying of sewer line, waterline, drainage work and electric cabling by open trench system.
· Cutting and fixing of tiles, stones and other flooring materials.
· Grinding activities.
· Piling work.
· Water Proofing work.
· Road construction/ repair works including paving of sidewalks / pathways and central verges etc.
(iii) For all construction projects in NCR, non-polluting / non-dust generating activities such as plumbing works, interior decoration, electrical works and carpentry related works shall be permitted to be continued.
- Industrial operations
- For industrial areas having PNG infrastructure and supply:
Strictly enforce closure / ban on such industries/ operations not running on fuels as in the standard list of approved fuels for NCR.
- For industrial areas not having PNG infrastructure and supply:
Regulate operations of such industries not using any of the fuels as per the standard list of approved fuels for NCR, to operate only for maximum 5 days a week as under (till 31.12.2022):
(i) Paper and pulp processing, distilleries and captive thermal power plants – to remain inoperative on Saturdays and Sundays.
(ii) Paddy / rice processing units – to remain inoperative on Mondays and Tuesdays.
(iii) Textile/ garments and apparels including dyeing processes – to remain inoperative on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
(iv) Other industries not falling in the above noted categories – to remain inoperative on Fridays and Saturdays.
- With effect from 01.01.2023, strictly enforce closure/ ban in the entire NCR, on such industries/ operations not running on fuels, as in the standard list of approved fuels for NCR.
Note: Milk & dairy units and those involved in manufacturing of life saving medical equipment / devices, drugs and medicines shall, however be exempted from the above restrictions.
- Close brick kilns, hot mix plants which are not operating on fuels, as in the standard list of approved fuels for NCR.
- Close down operations of stone crushers.
- Ban / Close down mining and associated activities in the NCR.
- State Governments in NCR/ GNCTD may impose restrictions on BS III petrol and BS IV diesel LMVs (4 wheelers).
Moreover, the Commission appeals to the citizens of NCR to cooperate in implementing GRAP and follow the steps mentioned in the Citizen Charter under GRAP. Citizens are advised to:
- Choose a cleaner commute – share a ride to work or use public transport or walk or cycle.
- People, whose positions allow working from home, may work from home.
- Do not use coal and wood for heating purpose.
- Individual house owners may provide electric heaters (during winters) to security staff to avoid open burning.
- Combine errands and reduce trips. Walk to errands wherever possible.
Further, all implementing agencies are advised that actions under Stage ‘I’ and Stage ‘II’ of the GRAP are further intensified and special drives are conducted for implementation of actions under Stage ‘III’, particularly restrictions related to Construction & Demolition activities, stone crushers and mining and associated activities. Regulatory actions need to be taken on Industrial operations, brick klins, and hot mix plants using non-approved fuels.
The Commission is closely watching the situation and will review the air quality scenario accordingly. The revised schedule of the GRAP is available on the Commission’s official website and can be accessed via caqm.nic.in