EPCA bans entry of trucks into Delhi till 11 pm today
NEW DELHI: Entry of trucks to Delhi would be stopped for 24 hours starting 11 pm Friday in view of the severe pollution in the national Capital, the Supreme Court-appointed EPCA has instructed the authorities. In a letter to chief secretaries of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) chief Bhure Lal directed them to stop the entry of truck traffic into Delhi, except essential commodities, from 11 pm on January 4 to 11 pm on January 5.
"The enforcement of this direction requires coordination of all NCR (National Capital Region) states and you are, therefore, requested to take steps to ensure that this happens. Also, the opening of the Eastern and Western Expressway will make this easier to implement as the trucks that are not destined for Delhi now have a convenient alternative to take," Lal said. The decision has been taken in view of the severe pollution level in the national capital for over 31 hours. Lal also urged people to minimise the use of personal vehicles and avoid being outside for prolonged periods.
The direction came following the recommendations from the Central Pollution Control Board-led task force. Dense fog blanketed the national capital on Friday with the visibility dropping to 400 meters and the air quality recorded under 'severe' category, the weather office said. According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the overall air quality of the national capital was recorded in 'severe' category with the air quality index being at 449.
Seventeen areas in Delhi recorded 'severe' air quality, while 12 gauged 'very poor' air quality, it said. Ghaziabad recorded 'severe' air quality while Faridabad, Gurgaon and Noida recorded 'very poor' air quality. The overall PM2.5 level (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of fewer than 2.5 micrometres) in Delhi was recorded at 228 while the PM10 level was at 358, the CPCB said. An AQI between 100 and 200 comes under 'moderate' category, 201 and 300 is considered 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', while that between 401 and 500 is 'severe'.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE), which was launched in May 2018, has brought down vehicular pollution in Delhi by at least 7%, a recent study has indicated. The Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) conducted the study on behalf of the Delhi government's environment department, taking the source apportionment study done by IIT Kanpur in 2016, as its basis. "..The results have been submitted to the environment department," said Ravindra Kumar, head of transportation planning and environment at CSIR-CRRI.
A senior official of the environment department said the results of the latest study show that while levels of nitrogen dioxide have shot up by 7% along EPE the level of carbon monoxide has increased by 2.5%. The level of particulate matter has also gone up by 0.9% along the EPE because of increased vehicular activities after the expressway was thrown open in May 2018.