Environment Min forms high-level committee
NEW DELHI: The Union Environment Ministry has set up a high-level committee to propose and monitor solutions to air pollution, which has risen to dangerous levels in and around Delhi, raising serious health concerns.
The Ministry has directed affected state governments to implement the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to battle pollution. The plan includes controlling off-road and construction dust, garbage burning, power plant and industrial emissions and vehicular movement, the Ministry's statement said.
A seven-member committee, headed by Environment Secretary C K Mishra, will look at short-term and long-term measures and meet at regular intervals to draw up a plan and ensure enforcement of the measures, the statement said.
The decision comes after Mishra held a meeting with officials of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) to assess the situation and work out the future course of action.
Other members of the committee include the secretaries of Science and Technology and Biotechnology, Additional Secretary of Niti Aayog, Chief Secretary of Delhi, chairman of CPCB and a representative of the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, the statement said.
As per the statement, other stringent measures include closure of brick kilns, hot mix plants and stone crushers. It further said that public transport had to be intensified and sprinkling of water and mechanised sweeping of roads must be implemented.
"The ban on construction, on the use of pet coke and furnace oil, had to be ensured, for which the respective implementing agencies would hold accountable. CPCB has been asked to continuously monitor the situation," the statement further read.
Pollutants touched calamitous levels, with thick grey smog hung low across Delhi over the past few days, prompting authorities to declare schools shut till Sunday, halt construction activities and ban entry of trucks into the city.
Meanwhile, South Delhi Municipal Corporation Mayor Kamaljeet Sehrawat said, "The DEMS Department of SDMC has issued detailed guidelines to deal with the situation arising out of severe air pollution."