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New Delhi : The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in NCR and adjoining areas convened a crucial meeting on an emergent basis on November 14, 2021, in the wake of deteriorating air quality of the Delhi-NCR region.

Apart from the order issued on November 13, 2021, after the 8th meeting of the Sub-Committee for Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) detailing various air pollution preventive measures and mitigation actions that need to be undertaken by the various agencies concerned across Delhi-NCR, the  order had also advised States and agencies concerned to be in complete readiness for implementing ‘Emergency Measures’ as listed under Graded Response Action Plan.

The adverse air quality scenario in Delhi-NCR as a combined result of paddy stubble burning, vehicular pollution, post-Diwali pollution, dip in temperature, and other local factors, was also greatly impacted by a dust storm moving in from the South-Westerly directions of the Thar desert which brought in huge quantities of dust that further amplified the PM2.5 / PM10 levels significantly. Considering all different aspects causing a spike in the air pollution levels, the Commission during the meeting reiterated that the actions recommended by the orders of the Sub-Committee, shall be strictly implemented by the States, according to a PIB release.

The Commission has also identified 5 different areas contributing to the prevailing adverse air quality of Delhi-NCR that need better focus with intensified efforts by the agencies concerned of the State Governments of National Capital Region (NCR) and GNCTD. These areas are:

  • Control of paddy stubble burning incidences;
  • Control of dust from Construction and Demolition (C&D) activities;
  • Control of dust from roads and open areas;
  • Vehicular Pollution; and
  • Industrial Pollution

CAQM has pulled out all stops in the battle against air pollution. It has, from time to time,  been advising various policy initiatives and actions directed towards improvement of air quality in the region. Apart from issuing 43 Directions and 7 Advisories to regularly holding meetings with the departments concerned of the State Governments and other concerned agencies of NCR,  CAQM has been pro-actively taking stock of efforts taken by the respective states towards abatement of air pollution.

CAQM is of the view that there is a vital need for regular assessments by senior level management in the State Governments and the agencies concerned so as to be well aware of the visible impact of the efforts initiated on-ground towards improvement of air quality in Delhi-NCR.

While soliciting views from the State Governments of Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, the Commission advised the departments concerned to consider similar restrictions/ regulations in the respective NCR districts as implemented by GNCTD through its order on November 13, 2021, which includes, inter alia, closure of schools up to November 20, 2021, and closure of C&D activities from November 14 – 17, 2021..

Further, the State Governments and District Administrations in the NCR States were also suggested to issue a Citizen Charter / Advisory for general public including various steps that need to be taken during various stages/ categories of the GRAP Action Plan.