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Delhi air quality continues to worsen. Stringent anti-pollution curbs likely
The skies over Delhi-NCR took on an ominous grey colour as raging farm fires and stagnant atmospheric conditions pushed the capital's air quality index to the edge of the "severe plus" category.
The air pollution in Delhi-NCR continues to worsen amid unfavourable meteorological conditions with slower wind speed and rising farm fire incidents. As a thick layer of haze covered the Delhi sky on Friday morning, the national capital reeled under 'severe plus' air quality with Air Quality Index (AQI) at 472. At 7am, the AQI near ITI Jahangirpuri was at 550, 562 in Noida (UP), 539 in Gurugram (Haryana) and 563 near Delhi University.
As per the dynamic model and weather forecast, the overall air quality of Delhi is likely to remain in the 'severe'/ 'severe plus ' category till November 5, prompting authorities to invoke the final stage of anti-pollution measures, including a ban on diesel-run light motor vehicles.
The Commission for Air Quality Management – a statutory body formed in 2021 to tackle air pollution in Delhi and adjoining areas – said in an order that the state governments may take a call on the closure of educational institutions, non-emergency commercial activities and plying of vehicles on odd-even basis. The CAQM said central and state governments may decide on permitting work from home. It was of the view that Stage IV of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) should be implemented with immediate effect to avoid further deterioration of overall air quality in the national capital region.
The GRAP is a set of anti-air pollution curbs to be implemented in Delhi-NCR according to the severity of the situation. It classifies the air quality in the Delhi-NCR under four different stages: stage 1 - "poor" (AQI 201-300), stage 2 - "very poor" (AQI 301-400), stage 3 - "severe" (AQI 401-450) and stage 4 - "severe plus" (AQI above 450).
Here is the set of anti-pollution curbs likely to be applicable in Delhi:
The entry of trucks other than electric and CNG and except those carrying essential commodities has been banned in Delhi under stage IV of GRAP.
Ban on plying of 4-wheeler diesel LMVs in NCT of Delhi and Districts of NCR bordering Delhi, except BS-VI vehicles and vehicles used for essential/emergency services.
Closing down all industries in NCR, even in areas that do not have PNG infrastructure and supply but still running on fuels, other than the fuels as per the standard list of approved fuels for NCR.
Industries like milk and dairy units and those involved in manufacturing life-saving medical equipment/ devices, drugs and medicines shall be exempted from the above restrictions.
Ban on construction and demolition (C&D) activities in linear public projects such as highways, roads, flyovers, over bridges, power transmission, pipelines etc.
NCR State Governments/ GNCTD to decide on allowing the public, municipal and private offices to work on 50 per cent strength and the rest to work from home.