Ban on construction as Delhi’s air quality falls to ‘severe’ category briefly

The spike in air pollution is mainly due to low wind speed and increased effect of stubble burning in neighbouring States on Delhi

Updated - October 30, 2022 01:37 am IST

Published - October 30, 2022 01:23 am IST - New Delhi


On a day the air quality of the national capital deteriorated to “severe” category for the first time this winter, a ban on construction and demolition activities, except for some selected activities, was declared with “immediate effect” by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in Delhi-NCR on Saturday. 

Delhi’s 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) was 402 (severe category) at 1 p.m. on Saturday, according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data. But it reduced slightly and settled at 397 (very poor) as per the CPCB’s daily official bulletin, which is released at 4 p.m., which is considered as the day’s official AQI. 

To remain ‘very poor’ 

The air quality is likely to remain in the “very poor” to “severe” category on Sunday and further deteriorate and remain in the “severe” category till November 1, according to the Central government’s Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi. A higher value of AQI means an increase in air pollution and a fall in air quality. An AQI between 301 and 400 is termed “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”. 

The spike in air pollution is mainly due to low wind speed and increased effect of stubble burning in neighbouring States on Delhi. 

The ban on construction is part of a list of actions under “Stage III” of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). The GRAP is a set of emergency measures taken to reduce air pollution. 

“Various agencies responsible for implementing measures under the GRAP and the Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) of the NCR and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) have also been advised to ensure strict implementation of actions of Stage III under GRAP during this period,” the CAQM said in a statement. 

As many as 120 enforcement teams of the Delhi government’s transport department and the city police will implement restriction on plying of BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel four-wheeler in the national capital if such curbs are imposed, officials said. 

Meanwhile, a delegation of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders led by State unit president Adesh Gupta gave a memorandum to the CAQM chairperson M.M. Kutty over the issue of rising air pollution in the national capital. 

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Gupta accused Mr. Kejriwal of “running away from his responsibilities”. 

The share of stubble burning emissions in Delhi’s total PM2.5 (a chief pollutant) was 21% on Saturday, according to Central government-run monitoring agency SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research). 

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