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Genset ban to CPCB vigil: What changes as Delhi moves to curb pollution

The Delhi government has banned use of diesel generators, except those needed for essential or emergency services like hospitals and railways

New Delhi's India Gate monument stands shrouded in smog in 2019. (Bloomberg)
New Delhi's India Gate monument stands shrouded in smog. Photo: Bloomberg

Every winter, Delhi's air quality dips to a dangerous low due to many reasons, including the city's geographic location, unfavourable weather, stubble burning and local sources of pollution. This year is no exception. The winter season is yet to set in in India and Delhites are already witnessing smoky haze shrouding the national capital. On Thursday, the city's air quality index (AQI) hit unhealthy levels in the morning and stood at 266 at 9 am. Two days ago, its air quality hit an eight-month low and stood at 306 on Tuesday morning.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has issued directions under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), a set of anti-pollution measures that come into force in Delhi and its vicinity towns according to the severity of the situation.

Measures taken by the government to curb pollution from October 15:

1. 50 teams of CPCB deployed for extensive field visits to prevent crop burning


The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has deployed 50 teams for extensive field visits to ensure strict vigilance.

The teams will visit Delhi and nearby cities like Noida, Ghaziabad, Meerut, Gurugram, Faridabad, Ballabgarh, Jhajjar, Panipat and Sonepat. CPCB will also closely monitor Alwar and Bharatpur in Rajasthan, and the vigil against pollution will continue till February 28 next year. CPCB teams will monitor sources of pollution at ground level and polluting activities for immediate action.

2. Use of diesel, petrol, kerosene generators banned

The Delhi government has banned use of diesel generators, except those needed for essential or emergency services like hospitals and railways in Delhi. "Delhi Pollution Control Committee hereby bans the operation of electricity generator sets of all capacities, run on diesel, petrol or kerosene in Delhi with effect from October 15 till further orders, excluding those used for essential or emergency services,” the official order read.

3. When the situation turns "severe", GRAP recommends closure of brick kilns, stone crushers and hot mix plants, sprinkling of water, frequent mechanised cleaning of roads and maximising power generation from natural gas.

4. The measures to be followed in the "emergency" situation include stopping entry of trucks in Delhi and ban on construction activities

What are the contributors to Delhi's pollution

Severe air pollution in Delhi is a year-round problem, which can be attributed to unfavourable meteorological conditions, farm fires in neighbouring regions and local sources of pollution.

1. Crop burning

Crop burning is responsible for 19% of Delhi's air pollution, according to SAFAR.

2. Transportation

According to an analysis by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, a Delhi-based think tank, transportation contributes the most -- 18 to 39 per
cent -- to Delhi's air pollution.

3. Road dust

Road dust is the second largest source of air pollution in the city (18 to 38 per cent)

4. Industries (2 to 29 per cent)

5. Thermal power plants (3 to 11 per cent)

6. Construction (8 per cent)

With Delhi-NCR bracing for months of poor air quality, experts have warned that high levels of air pollution can aggravate the Covid-19 pandemic.