Delhi-NCR authorities invoke GRAP-II stage, as AQI turns very bad

Air quality is close to the “Very Poor" category of (301-400) and is expected to touch these levels by Monday or Tuesday


New Delhi: The air quality of Delhi-NCR has worsened to the ‘very poor’ in the past few days, forcing the commission for air quality management (CAQM) to invoke the stage II of the graded response action plan (GRAP). As per the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, ‘very poor’ category of ambient air is pervading the Delhi-NCR and the same situation may linger for the next next 3-4 days.

The deteriorating condition of the air quality index (AQI) has set the alarm bell ringing for worse winter this year, as many festivals are around the corner. The AQI is close to the “very poor” category of (301-400) and is expected to touch these levels by Monday or Tuesday.

Changes that Delhi-NCR may see after Stage-II of GRAP

Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and other pollution control boards in the NCR region are responsible for the implementation of guidelines of GRAP which may include more intense steps at higher levels like a ban on construction activity in the capital region, closure of educational institutions, ban on entry of heavy vehicles, etc.

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Officials of DPCB said that under GRAP II, the government takes steps like increasing the parking fees to discourage the use of personal vehicles and increasing the frequency of CNG/Electric buses and metros.

Guidelines for citizens

People of the region have been advised to use public transport and minimize the use of personal vehicles. They have been exhorted to use technology, and take less congested routes even if slightly longer. Further, the authorities have asked them to regularly replace air filters at recommended intervals in your automobiles and avoid dust-generating construction activities during the months of October to January. Open burning of solid waste and biomass have been strictly prohibited.

Action plan under GRAP-II

The concerned agencies have been directed to carry out mechanical/ vacuum sweeping and water sprinkling of the identified roads on a daily basis. Sprinkling of water has been made mandatory along with the use of dust suppressants (at least every alternate day, during non-peak hours) on roads to arrest road dust, especially at hotspots, heavy traffic corridors, vulnerable areas, and proper disposal of dust collected in designated sites/landfills.

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Officials of the pollution watchdog will carry out intensified inspections for strict enforcement of dust control measures at C&D sites. They will also ensure focused and targeted action for abatement of air pollution in all identified hotspots in NCR. They will also keep watch on remedial measures for the predominant sector(s) contributing to adverse air quality in each of such hotspots.

The power distribution companies have been directed to ensure uninterrupted power supply to discourage the use of alternate power Generating sets/ equipment (DG sets etc.).

Apart from alerting the people about does and don’ts through the media, the traffic personnel will synchronize traffic movements and deploy adequate personnel at intersections/traffic congestion points for a smooth flow of traffic. Parking fee may be enhanced to discourage people from using their own private transport. Besides, the resident welfare associations have been directed to necessarily provide electric heaters to security staff to avoid open Bio-Mass and MSW burning during winters.

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