Sudden deterioration in AQI due dense foggy conditons coupled with calm winds
JAN 6, 2023
Delhi’s overall Air Quality Index (AQI) suddenly and unexpectedly spiked and clocked 400 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) met today to review the situation. 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 the air quality has suddenly and unexpectedly deteriorated owing to dense foggy conditions without much sunlight and very low temperatures, coupled with calm winds and stable atmospheric conditions over last few hours. Further, there is an increasing trend in the overall AQI of Delhi in the coming days as per the Air Quality forecast of IMD/IITM Therefore, it is considered necessary to re-impose Stage-III of GRAP with immediate effect in the entire NCR in an effort to steer clear of further deterioration of air quality in the region.
Based on earlier decisions of the Sub-Committee on GRAP, actions upto Stage-I and Stage-II of the GRAP are already in force vide orders dated October 5, 2022 and October 19, 2022 respectively. Stage III & Stage IV of the GRAP have also been imposed and thereafter revoked from time to time based on the prevalent air quality scenario in Delhi.
As per the dynamic model and weather/ meteorological forecast, the average air quality of Delhi is likely to deteriorate further tomorrow and the overall AQI is expected stay in the ‘Severe’ category. 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 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 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
- Ensure strict ban on any industrial operation in NCR with fuels other than those listed in the approved fuel list 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 C&D activities, stone crushers and mining and associated activities. Regulatory actions need to be taken on industrial operations, brick klins, and hot mix plants using unapproved 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