Experts: Delhi needs GRAP-like drive throughout year to combat pollution
NEW DELHI: To improve the air quality, Delhi would need a comprehensive set of short, medium and long-term measures for key sources of air pollution in Delhi and NCR, asserted the expert. "This comprehensive plan should work throughout the year so that emergency pollution condition does not occur," the experts added.
The Supreme Court-appointed body Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) has initiated its action plan known as Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). The experts said that a plan like this should be there throughout the year.
"This plan is designed for sustained improvement in air quality over time to help meet the clean air standards. The challenge is daunting as the plan shows Delhi will have to reduce particulate pollution by at least 74 per cent to meet the clean air standards. Such a target cannot be met merely with the day-to-day emergency response and crisis management," said Anumita Roychowdhury of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). "The notification of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), as per the Air Act, says that daily and hourly standards should be met 98 per cent of the time in a year and they should not exceed the standards on two consecutive days," she further added.
The experts also said that the proposed plan has identified the key implementing bodies that would be responsible for each of the action in a time-bound manner. It has also provided for a clear monitoring and oversight mechanism to assess implementation. According to the environmentalists, the GRAP needs intensification of public transport services on high pollution days which is not possible without augmentation of the public transport system, last mile connectivity and transport connectivity within NCR. Bus fleet and ridership are already declining in Delhi and impact of hiking parking charges by 2 to 3 times in a few commercial areas may be limited without a proper parking policy for the city. The only penalty on garbage burning without solid waste management and remediation of landfill sites will not work, said the experts.