Air pollution is back in the news in Delhi, with the air quality having been in the ′ poor’ category for the last 6 days.
According to SAFAR, the Ministry of Earth Sciences’ air quality monitor, the overall air quality index in Delhi was at 232, the ‘poor’ category, on Monday afternoon.
However, according to aqicn.org, the air quality was hazardous in some areas. It showed the AQI at 453 at Delhi Institute of Tool Engineering in Wazirpur, and at 369 in Satyawati College in Delhi.
Delhi’s air quality had turned poor on Wednesday, the first time since June 29, with the Central Pollution Control Board recording a 24-hour average AQI of 215 as stubble-burning season began in Haryana and Punjab.
However, the wind direction will change from northwesterly to southeasterly and the impact of farm fires will reduce, reports said.
While the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) has been implemented each year since 2017 — it includes shutting down of construction work and not running diesel generators among other things — the air pollution levels are proof that it has had little effect.
GRAP will be implemented this year from October 15.
Experts had said earlier that it was not enough for fixing Delhi’s air pollution problem.
This year Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal will launch a “solution” to stubble burning, and the Delhi government has already launched a “war room”.
Anti-stubble burning solution
PTI reported that on Tuesday, Kejriwal will launch an anti-stubble burning solution that can be sprayed on crop residue that can help decompose it and turn it into manure.
The report said that the Delhi government has received applications to spray solution on 1,500 acres of land where non-basmati rice is grown, according to Delhi’s environment minister Gopal Rai.
PTI reported that scientists at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, PUSA, have developed ″bio-decomposer″ capsules, which are used to prepare a liquid formulation. The solution, when sprayed in the fields, can decompose crop residue and turn it into manure.
The Delhi government has also launched a war room that will keep a track of Delhi’s air pollution levels.
Hindustan Times reported that a team of 10 experts will monitor real-time data on air pollution, hotspots, stubble burning and if measures being taken to check bad air are working or not.
The report quoted Gopal Rai as saying, “We will monitor complaints filed by people through the Green Delhi app which the CM will launch in the coming days. We will monitor complaints and implement strict action. On the other hand, we will monitor road sweeping and water sprinkling work done by the municipal corporations through GPS.”
Meanwhile Rai also questioned why the Centre was not taking any action against the 11 coal-fired power plants within 300 kilometres of Delhi, which have missed two deadlines to meet new emission norms.
Coal-powered plants are one of the major sources of air pollution in India.
Delhi has 13 air pollution hotspots — Okhla Phase-II, Dwarka, Ashok Vihar, Bawana, Narela, Mundka, Punjabi Bagh, Wazirpur, Rohini, Vivek Vihar, Anand Vihar, R K Puram and Jahangirpuri.
(With PTI inputs)