EPCA clampdown as paddy straw burning, vehicle emission turn NCR air toxic
New Delhi, October 31
For Delhi reeling under pollution woes, more bad news is in the offing. According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the coming days could see a sharp deterioration in air quality in the National Capital Region.
A toxic cocktail of weather disturbances in the north and east India, increasing paddy straw burning in Punjab and Haryana coupled with Delhi’-NCR’s own pollution will turn the air toxic in the next ten days.
Particulate Matter up
Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 levels in Delhi for Wednesday stood at 215 micrograms per cubic meter, up to four times higher than the acceptable levels. Similarly, PM 10 levels stood at 370 micrograms per cubic meter also close to four times higher than safe levels.
The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) has therefore instructed that all construction activities involving excavation and civil construction (excluding internal finishing/work where no construction material is used) will be stopped in Delhi and other NCR districts from November 1 up to November 10.
The circular of EPCA further states, “All stone crushers and hot mix plants generating dust pollution will stop functioning in Delhi and other NCR districts from November 1-10.”
Also, all industries using coal and biomass as fuel will stop functioning in Delhi and other NCR districts from November 4 to 10. Industries that use natural gas as fuel can continue to operate. The order does not apply to power plants in the NCR (except Badarpur) and waste-to-energy plants.
Also, all diesel generator (DG) sets in Delhi have been shut as of October 15, and the Badarpur Power Plant in Delhi has been closed as of October 15, 2018, EPCA noted.
Also, the EPCA is issuing a letter to shut down brick kilns in Haryana, Rajasthan and UP on Wednesday. Brick kilns in the NCR will also be closed from November 1 to 10.
Industries to shut shop
The industrial area of Mundka will remain closed from November 1 to10 so that all debris of plastic, rubber and other waste are removed by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, based on the EPCA’s inspection and directions, the central regulator said.
The EPCA has instructed all chief secretaries of the States involved to set up teams to patrol and impose fines on violators for garbage burning, industrial air pollution, dust mismanagement and visibly polluting vehicles.