Saturday, December 2, 2023

delhi: GRAP III invoked, anti-smog guns deployed as Delhi govt, central agencies step up fight against pollution

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Invoking stage III of pollution control plan, deploying anti-smog guns and re-launching the ‘Red light on, Gaadi off’ campaign are among the measures taken by the Delhi government and other agencies with the city’s air quality entering the ‘severe’ category, officials said. According to a Delhi government official, the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) stage 3 has been implemented in the national capital with a complete ban on construction or demolition activities. The Centre’s pollution control panel invoked the GRAP III on Thursday, directing a halt on non-essential construction work, stone crushing and mining in Delhi-NCR. Under this stage, restrictions are also imposed on the operation of BS III petrol and BS IV diesel four-wheelers in Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, and Gautam Budh Nagar.

The Delhi administration, which has stepped up measures to tackle the pollution menace, has deployed anti-smog guns in several places such as Anand Vihar, Kashmiri Gate ISBT, ITO, Pusa Road, Jahangirpuri, Narela Industrial area, and Burari Crossing, officials said.

An official of the Public Works Department (PWD) said, “The process of sprinkling of water is underway in the national capital in view of the pollution in the city. Anti-smog guns keep a constant check on road dust and we also use them where construction work is being carried out.” “We have 150 anti-smog guns and pressed them for the work. Around 50 such guns are working in double shift. We have also asked the contractors to install anti-smog guns, use view cutters and cover the openly lying material with curtains. We are trying to fill the potholes on roads, repairing the broken pavement, and general SOPs are being followed,” the official said.

The Delhi government launched the ‘Red light on, Gaadi off’ campaign on October 28 to make commuters and motorists aware about the growing pollution and encourage them to switch off their vehicles while waiting for the traffic light to turn green. It was re-launched a year after Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena put it on hold, questioning its effectiveness. Environment Minister Gopal Rai had earlier said 2,500 civil defence volunteers will be deployed for the campaign to monitor its implementation at 100 key traffic intersections. The air quality of Delhi remained in the ‘very poor’ category till Thursday morning with an AQI of 315 and it deteriorated to 418 in the evening. Friday morning was worse as the AQI reached up to 450.

GRAP categorises actions into four stages: Stage I – ‘Poor’ (AQI 201-300); Stage II – ‘Very Poor’ (AQI 301-400); Stage III – ‘Severe’ (AQI 401-450); and Stage IV – ‘Severe Plus’ (AQI above 450).

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has allocated Rs 20 lakh per zone for taking measures to combat air pollution in the city, officials said.

As part of its efforts, the MCD is focusing on the deployment of machinery and manpower for clearing garbage along railway tracks, they added.

An MCD official said that the agency will purchase dust suppressants that will be sprayed using anti-smog guns and water sprinklers at least every alternate day during non-peak hours.

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