To grapple with the increasingly degrading air quality in Delhi, diesel generator sets were banned in the city. The ban that came into effect this Tuesday will be in place till March 15 next year as a part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to improve air quality during winters.
The move came into action as part of a host of measures enforced after the capital’s air quality index raised alarms, hitting the ‘very poor’ category.
While it will adversely impact marketplaces, housing societies and wedding halls, it won’t apply to important services like hospitals, mobile towers and Metro.
According to the Supreme Court’s mandate, the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) mentioned that the diesel genset ban will only be implemented in Delhi, as the rest of the NCR is yet to find suitable alternatives, reported the Times of India.
Speaking to the publication, Sunita Narain, member of EPCA shared that the complete list of places who have applied for exemptions from the ban will be released on Wednesday by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC).
The other measures being implemented include closure of brick kilns not using zig-zag technology (that reduces pollution by 80%), mechanised sweeping of roads, closure of the Badarpur thermal power plant and monitoring of trucks entering Delhi.
Most of the measures implemented for the entire season currently include fall in GRAP’s the first three categories so pollution levels may not reach the level of `emergency.’ Long term measures like improving air quality by hiking parking fees upto four times, increasing public transport, providing electric heaters to guards to avoid burning of firewood, closure of hot mix as well as stone crushers, will take time.
“The measures will remain in place and more directions can be issued based on the daily reports. We have a contingency plan as well and directions can be issued when required,” Sunita Narain added.
If the final category of ‘emergency’ in the plan is implemented, measures like odd-even traffic restrictions and closure of schools will be considered.
The Pollution control authority has laid down strict rules against burning of open waste and construction dust, where offenders will be fined. Complaints with photographs of waste burning can be filed on the Delhi Pollution Control Committee‘s Whatsapp helpline number (9717593574).
While the Central Pollution Control Board will release a daily AQI report at 4pm, the Meteorological Department will collate information on wind and weather forecast.
These will be combined to collate a two-page daily report to be sent to EPCA and the Lieutenant Governor by 5 pm highlighting pollution hotspots in Delhi, the weather forecast for the coming days, agricultural residue burning data and wind speed data, reported the publication.
The pollution control bodies are also working on a mechanism to make air quality information available to the general public.