Delhi

‘Odd-even to be last weapon against pollution’

Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Monday said that the odd-even vehicle rationing policy will be used as a “last weapon” if everything else fails in the fight against air pollution in the city.

The air quality of Delhi, Gurugram and Noida were in the ‘poor’ category on Monday, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data.

“We have implemented the odd-even policy many times and it will be our last weapon. If everything else fails, then the government will think about implementing odd-even,” the Minister said during a press conference.

Mr. Rai further said the government will launch an awareness programme from October 21 about the “red light on, gaadi off” campaign to reduce air pollution.

“We will run the campaign from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. As many as 100 busy traffic intersections have been selected for the purpose. A total of 2,500 environment marshals will be deployed at these junctions,” he said, adding: People who are not turning off their vehicles at red lights will be given a rose and environment marshals will appeal to them to turn off their vehicles.”

Delhi’s AQI was 244 (poor) on Monday. The values for Gurugram and Noida were 245 and 236, respectively, as per CPCB’s 4 p.m. bulletin on Monday, which is an average of the past 24 hours.

The AQI of Delhi is expected to be in the ‘poor’ to ‘very poor’ category on Tuesday and is likely to worsen thereon, as per SAFAR.

“A change in surface wind direction is forecast by Wednesday, which is likely to bring on calm surface wind conditions leading to low ventilation and deterioration of AQI. ‘Very poor’ AQI is predicted for Wednesday and Thursday,” it added.

Meanwhile, the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority on Monday wrote to the Chief Secretaries of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to review emission standards of eight thermal power plants in the two States and inform them about it.

Closure of power plants

“We may have to direct closure of the plants, which do not meet 2015 standards as air quality deteriorates in the coming days,” the letter read.

The closure of the plantshas been a major demand of the Delhi government.

Three of the plants are in U.P. and five are in Haryana.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 5:22:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/odd-even-to-be-last-weapon-against-pollution/article32896195.ece

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