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Govt announces slew of measures to tackle situation

Govt announces slew of measures to tackle situation
Air quality of the national Capital has deteriorated considerably with the onset of winter here. The same has been revealed in various post-Diwali air quality reports. Concerned with the worsening condition of air quality, the Delhi government on Tuesday reviewed its preparedness of air pollution control measures. 

The meeting was called by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia with all the concerned departments to discuss steps to combat it on a “war footing.” During this, Sisodia directed vacuum cleaning of roads and water sprinkling on PWD roads to control dust. 

Further for dust control from construction activities, officials were told to take action against construction sites violating dust pollution controlling norms. Similarly, the Swachh Delhi app developed by the Urban Development Department is to be also linked with dust complaints from construction sites. The Deputy CM also directed public awareness to be created so that complaints could be sent through this app. 

Meanwhile, the horticulture and sanitation departments were told to ensure prohibition of burning of leaves, garbage and others in the open and take strict action against defaulters. Redesign of the DPCC whatsapp helpline No. 9717593574, by analysing last 10 days data with respect to action taken and feedback from implementing agencies have also been directed by Sisodia. 

The PWD will explore installation of mist fountain at five important traffic intersections, to start with, namely Mukarba Chowk, Anand Vihar and others. Sisodia also instructed the PWD to explore possibility for installing air purifiers at traffic intersections. 

It was learnt that Chief Secretary will take a meeting with the MCDs, NDMC and DPCC regarding green crematorium (on pilot base) for installation of emission control device (chimney, wet scrubber). This should be a joint project of the MCDs and the DPCC. The latter will also monitor the air quality level before and after the pilot project, directed the Deputy Chief Minister. 

The Delhi government will inspect three landfill sites including Bhalaswa, Okhla and Ghazipur. He directed that immediate steps be taken to control and trap Methane to reduce its emissions in open air. DPCC and DJB will submit a report to the Deputy CM after exploring the use of sludge on the landfill sites. Similarly, the power department was told to initiate process of installation of waste to energy plant at Rajghat power station. 

Matter is to be taken up with GAIL with respect to controlled burning methane gas and covering of landfill sites with inert material, alum sludge from water treatment plant of DJB. The Deputy CM has decided to take a weekly review of the steps decided in the meeting. 

Sisodia will also meet officials of concerned departments on a regular basis. The meeting was attended by PWD and Health Minister Satyendar Jain and Environment Minister Imran Hussain, Chief Secretary K K Sharma and senior officials from the Environment, PWD, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and Delhi Jal Board. 

Earlier on Monday, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee’s real time monitoring mechanism has revealed that the ultra pollutant PM 2.5 on Monday breached the safe standard by over 14 times at Anand Vihar. 

Delhi roads to be vacuum cleaned weekly: Sisodia

The Delhi government on Tuesday said roads in the Capital will be vacuum-cleaned every week to check dust and air pollution — which has increased post Diwali as toxic matter was released due to setting off of firecrackers.

“Vacuum cleaning of roads will be brought back in Delhi,” Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said after a meeting of concerned departments on pollution levels in the city. He said all roads falling under the Delhi government’s Public Works Department (PWD) would be cleaned through water sprinklers. This, he told the media, would bring down the dust, a major contributor to pollution.

The vacuum cleaning would start in two weeks and it would be a weekly affair.

Sisodia called for new ideas to curb pollution which has touched serious levels. “Measures are to be taken to control the fuel wastage and pollution which is caused due to auto drivers keeping ignition on,” he said. “Delhi government along with Municipal Corporation of Delhi will work towards putting chimneys in Delhi’s crematoriums which will help in reducing some pollution.

“Sustenance of already existing anti-pollution plans and creation of new ideas is much needed,” he said.

He announced that people would now be “able to complain through a mobile application in case of pollution around construction sites”.

The government also said it was working on “actionable” subjects to control pollution levels in the city.

As per the data released by the Delhi government on Monday, the carbon monoxide (CO) levels in air on Diwali ranged from 2.0 mg/m3 to 4.2 mg/m3 (microgram/cubic metre) in comparison with 1.1 mg/m3 to 4.0 mg/m3 during last year’s Diwali. Particulate Matter 10 or PM10 levels ranged from 448 µg/m3 to 939 µg/m3, a steep increase from last Diwali’s 296 µg/m3 to 778µg/m3. PM 10 is called so because of its diameter which is 10 micrometre or less. To put it in perspective, a human hair is 100 micrometre wide.

Another harmful pollutant, PM 2.5, ranged from 180 µg/m3 to 440 µg/m3. These are fine particles which emanate from automobiles, burning of wood and construction material. They are responsible for making the atmosphere hazy marked by low visibility. 

Health Minister Satyendar Jain told the media that the Aam Aadmi Party government was concerned over the increasing levels of air pollution. He said Diwali and burning paddy fields in Punjab and Haryana had contributed to the pollution levels in the Capital. 
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