Millennium Post

Only GRAP left in Delhi govt arsenal to grapple pollution

NEW DELHI: After it dropped the plan to implement the odd-even scheme, the Delhi government now only has the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) – formulated by the EPCA – in its arsenal to combat air pollution.
Owing to miscommunication between the civic agencies and the government, the national Capital is still struggling to get rid of its 'severe' air quality.
On a day when thick, polluted haze once again enveloped Delhi-NCR, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) directed governments to impose all conditions under the 'severe' category of GRAP.
"This plan is an emergency plan, which cannot become a substitute for long-term and decisive action to cut air pollution," said EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal.
The Delhi government, however, has failed to implement most of these directions.
Even though entry of heavy vehicles into Delhi from the border entry points has been banned, several trucks from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are still entering the Capital.
Moreover, construction activities are taking place unchecked and no proper action has been taken to stop it.
"All state pollution control boards are to immediately impose fines on all road constructing agencies, where there are inadequate dust control measures," Lal had earlier said.
"Taking into account the provision of C&D (construction and demolition) rules, which allow for the penalty of up to Rs 5 lakh for construction dust mismanagement, EPCA is directing for a fine of Rs 50,000 to be imposed as penalty per day per stretch for inadequate road dust control," an EPCA official said.
However, the Delhi government seems to be helpless in curbing construction activities.
"We have urged everyone to stop construction works," said Delhi Environment minister Imran Hussain.
Experts have noted that the Delhi government has no proper machinery to fight against pollution.
The Environment department is also not well-equipped and there is a large communication gap between the elected government, civic agencies and Delhi Development Authority.
Commenting on the pollution regulations, Anumita Roy Chowdhury of Centre for Science and Environment said, "We are still using Bharat 4 (Euro 4) in 13 of our big cities. But Euro 4 was discontinued in Europe in 2006. In all our smaller cities, we are using Bharat 3 norms, which are more than a decade old."
She added that the widespread use of diesel cars has worsened pollution, as they emit three times more nitrogen monoxide and nitrogen monoxide than petrol cars, and emit more particulate matter.
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