Delhi lifts final stage curbs to combat air pollution; diesel cars, trucks can return to roads
Delhi Air Pollution: Centre's air quality panel on Sunday lifted curbs imposed in Delhi-NCR under the final stage of air pollution action plan due to deteriorating AQI. The curbs were imposed three days ago.
The Sub-Committee revoked the order, issued on November 3, 2022, for actions under Stage-IV of the GRAP (Graded Response Action Plan in Delhi-NCR) with immediate effect. Actions under Stages-I to Stage-III of GRAP shall however remain invoked & be implemented, monitored & reviewed.
Actions under Stages-I to Stage-III of the GRAP shall however remain invoked and be implemented, monitored, and reviewed by all agencies concerned in the entire NCR to ensure that the AQI levels do not slip further to the ‘Severe’/ ‘Severe +’ category, officials said.
Post lifting of Stage-IV GRAP in Delhi-NCR, the ban on non-BS VI diesel-run light motor vehicles, and entry of trucks into the national capital have also been revoked, CAQM said.
Delhi AQI improves from severe to very poor
Delhi's air pollution levels ameliorated marginally to the lower end of the "very poor" category primarily due to favourable wind speed and a drop in the contribution of stubble burning.
The 24-hour average air quality index stood at 339 at 4 pm, dropping from 381 a day ago. It was 447 on Friday, according to the Central Pollution Control Board.
It had jumped to 450 on Thursday, just a notch short of the 'severe plus' category, prompting authorities to invoke the final stage of anti-pollution curbs, including a ban on non-BS VI diesel light motor vehicles.
The number of farm fires in Punjab dropped sharply to 599 from 2,817 a day ago, data from the Indian Agricultural Research Organisation (IARI) showed.
According to Safar, a forecasting agency under the Ministry of Earth and Sciences, the share of stubble burning in Delhi's PM2.5 pollution also declined to 18 per cent from 21 per cent on Saturday.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Punjab counterpart, Bhagwant Mann, had owned responsibility on Friday for paddy straw burning in the agrarian state and promised to curb the practice by the next winter.
The number of stubble-burning incidents in Punjab rose by 12.59 per cent year-on-year to 26,583 in the last 50 days with a spurt in such cases after Diwali, according to Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
In comparison, the number of paddy stubble-burning events in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi remained lower between September 15 and November 4 this year, the data stated.
The hazardous pollution levels prompted the Delhi government to announce on Friday that primary schools would remain shut from Saturday and 50 per cent of its staff will work from home, while private offices have been advised to follow suit.
A six-member panel chaired by the special commissioner of transport has been set up to monitor the implementation of curbs on anti-polluting activities. Revenue commissioners have been asked to prepare a plan for staggered timings of markets and offices.
In a bid to ramp up public transport, the government will also launch 'Paryavaran Bus Service', which will include 500 privately-run CNG buses.
In a bid to reduce vehicular emissions, Environment Minister Gopal Rai also appealed to the chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to take measures to divert trucks carrying non-essential goods on peripheral expressways to avoid traffic jams at the capital's borders.
Kejriwal had said the odd-even car rationing scheme would be implemented if the need arises and discussions on it were on.
According to a study conducted by The Energy and Resources Institute in 2018, vehicular emissions account for around 40 per cent of the PM 2.5 pollution in the capital.
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