The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) announced the lifting of anti-pollution curbs under Stage-IV of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in Delhi and adjoining areas. This decision comes as a response to the improved air quality, transitioning from the ‘severe’ to the ‘very poor’ category.
The move to impose Stage-IV restrictions including the prohibition of polluting vehicles and construction activities, was initiated on November 5 when the Air Quality Index (AQI) reached the alarming ‘Severe+’ category (AQI >450). These measures, part of the GRAP, aim to address air pollution levels in the region.
As of the latest update, the present AQI level in Delhi stands at around 322, an improvement of about 128 AQI points from the threshold that triggered Stage-IV actions.
The decision to lift these restrictions was made after a review by the CAQM, considering the sustained improvement and the forecast by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and Indian Institute of Technology Madras.
While Stage-IV restrictions have been lifted, it’s important to note that restrictions under Stages I to III of the GRAP will remain in place and be actively implemented.
The CAQM acknowledged that restrictions under GRAP Stage-IV are disruptive for a large number of stakeholders and the public at large.
Monitoring agencies in the city are closely watching the situation and will make decisions based on ongoing air quality assessments.
In response to the ‘severe’ level of air pollution in the national capital, schools were closed for a winter break from November 9 to 18, 2023.
This decision was influenced by the implementation of GRAP-IV measures for the safety of children and staff.
The Delhi Directorate of Education issued a circular stating, “In the wake of the implementation of GRAP-IV measures due to severe air quality prevailing and seeing that no respite from such adverse weather conditions in the near future is predicted by the IMO, the winter break for the session 2023-24 is ordered to be preponed so that schools can be totally closed, and both children and teachers can stay at home.”
Earlier this week the government established a six-member special task force to ensure the strict implementation of the Centre’s air pollution control plan GRAP in the national capital. The task force, headed by Delhi’s special secretary, includes senior officials from various departments.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed authorities, including the Central Pollution Control Board and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, to take measures to improve the AQI in Delhi-NCR.
Expressing concern over the lack of visible improvement, the NGT mandated a fresh action taken report by November 20.
The AQI is a crucial indicator developed by government agencies to communicate the level of air pollution to the public.
- Thursday: 412 at 3 pm, 24-hour average AQI of 419
- Wednesday: 401
- Tuesday: 397
- Monday: 358
- Sunday: 218
- Saturday: 220
- Friday: 279
The relatively better air quality observed last weekend was attributed to rain. However, a surge in air pollution occurred due to firecracker bursting on Diwali night and a resurgence in burning in neighboring states. Meteorological conditions, including winds and low temperatures hindering pollutant dispersion.
A joint project by the government and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, revealed that vehicular emissions accounted for about 45% of the capital’s air pollution. This percentage was expected to reduce to 38% on Saturday.
Secondary inorganic aerosols, such as sulfate and nitrate, emerged as the second major contributor, accounting for 19 to 36% of the air pollution in Delhi over recent days.
As Delhi struggles with persistent air quality, the role of vehicular emissions has come under scrutiny. Recent findings from a joint project by the government and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, indicate that vehicular emissions accounted for about 45% of the capital’s air pollution on a given day.
Top Sources Related to Delhi AQI: Air Quality Continues to be in “Severe” Category (For R&D)
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