There was a major dip in temperature across Delhi-NCR with a significant rise in Particulate Matter (PM) in the air quality on Tuesday. Use of private vehicles in New Delhi may be halted because the air quality in the capital stayed in the ‘very poor’ category.

“Let us hope the air pollution situation in Delhi doesn’t deteriorate but if it turns out to be an emergency, we will have to stop the use of private transport,” said Bhure Lal, Chairman of the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA).

A man walks in front of India Gate in smog in Delhi.

The government officials revealed that three-quarters of the total air pollution is contributed by vehicles. Most of the people now use diesel cars, which is more polluting as compared to the petrol version. It is estimated that half the cars are going to be powered by diesel by 2020.

According to the data by the Central Pollution Control Board, the Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at 386.14 on 30th October.

Anand Vihar, Dwarka Sector 8, Narela, Punjabi Bagh, Bawana, Mundka, Vivek Vihar and Rohini are the eight areas in Delhi that recorded severely poor air quality on Saturday.

What are the officials doing about the rise in pollution?

Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) in a meeting suggested that all construction activities involving civil construction, hot mix plants, stone crushers, and excavation, that generate dust pollution in Delhi-NCR to be stopped from 1st November.

Harsh Vardhan, Environment Minister said that the government has decided to initiate criminal prosecution against agencies which do not comply with the directives to check air pollution.

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He also defended the Central Government by saying that his ministry and the state governments of Punjab and Haryana have tried to reduce the burning of crops, and the Delhi government must intensify its own efforts to help curb pollution.

Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) for Delhi and NCR will be implemented by EPCA to combat air pollution from 1st November. The plan defines the measures to be taken based on air quality on the basis of PM 2.5 and PM 10 in the atmosphere.

It recommends measures like odd-even car rationing scheme and bans on construction activities to combat air pollution in Delhi-NCR. GRAP might also ban diesel generators and the parking fee might increase by three to four times.

Vehicles causing air pollution in Delhi

Why is the air quality “very poor” in Delhi?

“A thick haze due to smog continued to hover over the national capital,” said authorities. It is because the farmers in Punjab and Haryana states have started burning the residue of the previous crop to prepare for new plantings in November.

“Every year Delhi suffers because of the ineptness of the central government and the state governments of neighboring Punjab and Haryana states,” says Arvind Kejriwal.

Agricultural stubble is burnt by farmers in northern India every October or November, before the onset of winter. It has been noted that an estimated 35 million tons are set afire in Punjab and Haryana alone to make room for the winter crop.

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: Wikipedia, Hindustan Times, Forbes

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