EPCA soon to remove 'severe plus' label from Delhi's air
NEW DELHI: The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) is expected to lift the "severe plus" category of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), as air quality in Delhi has improved to 'very poor' from the 'severe' category.
The Supreme Court-appointed body is likely to implement moderate category of GRAP.
Sources said the EPCA is tracking pollution levels from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which presents daily data as per GRAP standard.
The data shows continued levels of PM2.5 emergency level of 300 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m³).
If EPCA decides to lift emergency conditions on pollution, it would impact the existing ban on construction and trucks stopped at the border.
EPCA is primarily dependent on weather forecasts, according to which air pollution are expected to reduced in the next few days.
However, if there is no improvement in the weather condition and pollution stays at severe, the emergency conditions will remain.
Earlier, EPCA had suggested a ban on diesel vehicles and closure of all coal-based power plants and industries in Delhi-NCR, when the air quality turns toxic.
EPCA also said it had no advance warning of the 'unprecedented' adverse weather conditions in Delhi last week, which resulted in air pollutions levels touching 'severe' and 'emergency' levels in the national Capital. It also called for "better weather forecasts".
On Wednesday, Delhi saw improvement in air quality, as six of the 15 regions recorded 'very poor' levels for the first time in the past week.
With wind speeds almost double compared to last week and chances of a drizzle in NCR and the neighbouring states, air quality is set to improve further, experts said.
According to CPCB the average Air Quality Index of NCR, including Delhi, was 398, with major pollutant PM2.5 recorded at 397 units at 6 pm on Wednesday. This is considered 'very poor'.
The average AQI of Delhi at 6 p.m. was 407 with PM2.5 at 406 units, considered "severe".