SC approves Pollution Code
The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Central government to notify the “graded response action plan” for different level of air pollution in the national Capital and the National Capital Region comprising areas of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Asking the government to notify the “graded” plan that includes the steps that would be taken to address a particular level of air pollution, the Bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur, Justice A K Sikri and Justice S A Bobde said the Central Pollution Control Board will install real time and manual pollution monitoring stations in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The court order came after it approved the report submitted by the CPCB giving four category of air pollution — moderate to poor, very poor, severe and severe plus or emergency. The report submitted to the court said that the analysis of the past air quality trend show that severe and very poor air quality is anticipated throughout the winter months of November to February and largely poor category during summer months of March to May. Air quality Index would be categorised as poor when PM (particulate matter) 2.5 levels are between 91-120 microgramme per cubic metre or PM 10 levels are between 251-350 microgrammes per cubic metre.
In the case of very poor air quality, the PM2.5 levels are between 121-250 microgramme per cubic metre or PM 10 levels are between 351-430 microgramme per cubic metre. Air Quality Index would be categorised as poor when PM2.5 levels are between 91-120 microgramme per cubic metre or PM 10 levels are between 251-350 microgramme per cubic metre.
In the event of Severe AQI, the PM2.5 levels are above 250 microgramme per cubic metre or PM 10 levels are above 430 microgramme per cubic metre. In the situation of Severe plus or emergency AQI, PM2.5 levels cross 300 microgramme per cubic metre or PM 10 levels cross 500 microgramme per cubic metre.
Each of the four stages involves steps that have to be taken to address the situation like in the case of moderate or poor would require stringent enforcement of ban on garbage burning in the landfills, pollution control in thermal power plants, brick kilns and industries.
Air pollutant levels violate prescribed limits by 4 times
The levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10, most dominant pollutants in Delhi’s air, have consistently violated the prescribed standards by about four times each over the last 10 days, official data shows. The average levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10 over an eleven-day period from November 21 to December 1 were 194 and 438 micrograms per cubic metre, as against the corresponding safe limits of 60 and 100 respectively.
Although, these readings show no major difference when compared to the data collated over the same period last year, the city government said. In fact, the average level of these ultrafine particulates over the same period were higher at 264 and 518 last year. This year the situation has marginally improved riding on the back of strong wind movement for about a fortnight. Meanwhile, the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) air quality index (24-hour average) was in the ‘very poor’ category on Friday, with a reading of 378.
Environment Minister Imran Hussain reviewed the prevailing ambient air quality in a meeting with the officers of Environment Department and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) here. The department, in a statement, suggested that the city was not witnessing another episode of smog at the moment.
“In winters, particularly when fog/mist develops in the city, a general perception prevails that the air quality worsens, whereas the fact is that fog and smog are two separate environmental phenomena.
“Fog is a collection of water droplets suspended in the atmosphere in the vicinity of the earth’s surface that affects visibility. It reduces visibility below 1 km. The most common form of fog, known as radiation fog, typically occurs on clear nights as the earth’s surface cools the moist air immediately above it,” it said.