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EPCA asks govt agencies to be on high alert

NEW DELHI: Supreme Court-appointed body Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) and other green bodies, along with environmental experts, have urged citizens and all responsible agencies to stay on high alert in the coming week, with air quality likely to worsen.
The Environment department of Delhi government has also alerted the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and its own officials to stay on alert.
The government has said that in case of an emergency, every preventive measure would be reinforced. Government sources also said that all its air quality monitoring stations are on high alert and a group of environmentalists is working on this issue.
"A Western disturbance is expected to approach the Western Himalayas around November 28. In wake of this weather system, westerly winds will be replaced by south-westerly winds, leading to an increase in moisture levels hence, leading to the formation of smog/fog," said an official of the EPCA.
EPCA has asked the Meteorological Department to provide it with forecasts for a week, so that all agencies are better prepared to tackle another smog-like scenario.
In the meantime, the EPCA and other green bodies are working on improving implementation of the odd-even scheme.
"EPCA will work out a manual for odd-even. The recent NGT order on the scheme will also be looked into. We will come up with a short note," environmentalist Sunita Narain, an EPCA member, said.
Meanwhile, experts said that it would be no surprise if air quality deteriorates, as there has been no monitoring of air quality by the government.
"Let us be clear: Delhi-NCR has to reduce particulate pollution by as much as 74 per cent to meet the clean air standards. It cannot be achieved with small incremental steps. There are limits to what GRAP (Graded Response Action Plan) can do if more comprehensive systemic action is not put in place," said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
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