Delhi air pollution: The residents of Delhi-NCR again woke up inhaling toxic air as the pollution level in the national capital was in the 'severe' category with the Air Quality Index (AQI) crossing the 400 mark in several parts of the city on Friday morning. There has been no respite from the hazardous smog clouds and toxic air despite several measures by the government.
The people of Delhi face a dual challenge with the onset of increasing cold on one hand and a surge in air pollution on the other. After a brief respite from the decline in the Air Quality Index (AQI) in the Delhi-NCR region, the AQI has recently started to rise again post-Diwali.
Barring a few days around Diwali, Delhi's air quality has fluctuated between the 'very poor' and 'severe' categories due to unfavourable meteorological conditions hindering the dispersion of pollutants. The persistently high levels of air pollution pose health risks and underscore the challenges in addressing the issue.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), areas like Anand Vihar, RK Puram, IGI Airport, and Dwarka have recorded AQI figures crossing the 400-mark. Anand Vihar has an AQI of 448, RK Puram 461, IGI Airport area 465, and Dwarka 491. Additionally, Noida and Greater Noida also fall into the 'severe' category of air quality.
In some respite for the residents of Noida and Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh, the air quality stayed in the 'very poor' category. According to the CPCB data, AQI in Noida Sector 125 was recorded at 352, while AQI was recorded at 314 in Knowledge Park - III in Greater Noida. In Gurugram's Sector 51, the AQI stands at 444.
Notably on Thursday, the capital's air quality index (AQI) stood at 412 at 3 pm. Its 24-hour average AQI, recorded at 4 pm every day, stood at 419 on Thursday. It was 401 on Wednesday, 397 on Tuesday, 358 on Monday, 218 on Sunday, 220 on Saturday, 279 on Friday and 437 on Thursday.
Delhi govt sets up 6-member STF to implement GRAP
Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Thursday said that the Delhi government set up a six-member special task force to ensure strict implementation of the Centre's air pollution control plan GRAP in the national capital.
Delhi's special secretary (environment) will head the STF whose members include senior officials from the departments of transport, traffic, revenue, Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Public Works Department (PWD).
The STF will coordinate with all the departments involved in the enforcement of pollution control measures and submit a report to the government daily, Rai told reporters.
Action taken by Delhi govt
Strict restrictions, including a ban on construction work and the entry of polluting trucks into the capital, under the final stage (Stage IV) of the Centre's air pollution control plan called the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) had kicked in on November 5 after air quality in the capital dropped to "severe plus" (AQI above 450) levels.
The plying of BS III petrol and BS IV diesel vehicles is banned under the GRAP Stage IV, with exemptions granted to those involved in essential services.