Delhi AQI 'severe', GRAP III imposed; ban on non-essential construction works – Hindustan Times

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The Centre’s pollution control panel on Thursday banned non-essential construction activities in Delhi-NCR as pollution levels in the national capital neared the ‘severe’ category, an official order stated. The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) also issued directions to ban the entry of diesel-guzzling trucks into the national capital.
This action comes as part of Stage III of the Graded Response Action Plan or GRAP – the Centre’s air pollution control plan that is implemented in the region during the winter season. Delhi’s Air Quality Index or AQI was at 402 at 5pm.
At a meeting to review the air quality situation in Delhi-NCR, the CAQM, a statutory body responsible for developing strategies to combat pollution in the region, said the pollution levels are only “expected to increase further” owing to unfavourable meteorological and climatic conditions.
GRAP categorises actions into four stages: Stage I – ‘Poor’ (AQI 201-300); Stage II – ‘Very Poor’ (AQI 301-400); Stage III – ‘Severe’ (AQI 401-450); and Stage IV – ‘Severe Plus’ (AQI >450).
Stage III of GRAP involves a complete halt on construction and demolition work except for essential government projects, mining and stone crushing.
It also includes a ban on the entry of light commercial vehicles registered outside Delhi and diesel-guzzling trucks, and medium and heavy goods vehicles (except those involved in essential services).
Delhi saw a hazy day on Thursday as the 24-hour average AQI was recorded at 392, which falls in the “very poor” category, and the maximum temperature settled at 30.2 degree Celsius, news agency PTI reported.
At least 18 out of 37 monitoring stations recorded AQI in the “severe” category. The areas where AQI breached the 400-mark are – Anand Vihar (450), Bawana (452), Burari Crossing (408), Dwarka Sector 8 (445), Jahangirpuri (433), Mundka (460), NSIT Dwarka (406), Najafgarh (414), Narela (433), Nehru Nagar (400), New Moti Bagh (423), Okhla Phase 2 (415), Patparganj (412), Punjabi Bagh (445), R K Puram (417), Rohini (454), Shadipur (407) and Wazirpur (435).
According to the weather department, Delhi would witness shallow fog in the next three days. The relative humidity at 5.30pm was 70 per cent, the India Meteorological Department said in a bulletin.
On Wednesday, the Delhi high court issued a directive, stating that the forest department bears responsibility for the capital’s air quality and must take measures to improve the AQI in the region.
Justice Jasmeet Singh, in addressing matters related to establishing an alternative forest in Delhi and filling vacancies within the department, noted that children were suffering from asthma due to inhaling polluted air. The court expressed concern that encroachment was taking place in the ridge area, considered the lungs of the national capital, right under the nose of government officials.
(With inputs from PTI)
Have 11 years’ experience in print and digital media. Write on politics, defence and world affairs, and have a keen eye for human-interest stories.


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