NEW DELHI: The Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) has been implemented in the national Capital on Tuesday ahead of the expected peak pollution season.
As per the plan, stricter measures are rolled out to prevent the rising toxic levels of air pollution including stopping of trucks, increase parking fees, increasing bus and metro services, close brick kilns, discouraging private vehicles and ban of diesel generators when the air quality turns “poor”.
Experts are viewing the idea behind the implementation of GRAP as ‘helpful’ but demand more long-term solutions. Also, the weather conditions are a major factor that will impact the pollution levels in the city.
“All the actions government proposes would depend upon how the weather conditions are in the next 15-20 days. If the weather is sunny and sky is clear then air pollution will reduce drastically irrespective of the steps taken as per the GRAP. However, if the sky is not clear, then the GRAP would be helpful. If the temperature at ground level is much cooler, pollutants remain in the lowest due to moisture and thus GRAP would altogether help. This is but an immediate and short-term measure,” Professor emeritus at centre for environment management for degraded ecosystem at Delhi University, C R Babu said.
“The government should come up with the long term solutions like a series of vegetation buffers. It means more green cover in the form of developing biodiversity parks and nourishing native forests,” he added.
Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director research and advocacy in the Centre of Science and Environment (CSE) said, “This is now the third year that GRAP is being implemented. We know every winter we implement this plan because we want to ensure preventive action during the adverse conditions of pollution )in city. We don’t want to contribute to that thus the emergency action is taken.”
“People should not confuse these emergency measures with permanent measures. This is a comprehensive action plan,” Roy said.
Meanwhile, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) had identified 19 hotspots to be monitored during peak pollution across the city. EPCA is going to hold a meeting on October 18 to discuss the ban on diesel generators since there has been concern raised by different states asking for relaxation to residential colonies and societies.
Transport Minister, Kailash Gahlot wrote to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan asking for data on crop stubble burning’s impact on air particulate matter, developed by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).