Graded Response Action Plan on pollution only on paper: CREA
Between October 1, 2022, and February 15, 2023, 26 cities reported PM2.5 levels as being in the ‘severe+’ category, 38 cities in the ‘severe’ category, and 78 cities in the ‘very poor’ category.
Published: 16th March 2023 07:43 AM | Last Updated: 16th March 2023 07:43 AM | A+A A-
NEW DELHI: The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) released a report, “Status Assessment of Graded Response Action Plan Implementation in the Indo-Gangetic Plain”, on Wednesday highlighting a systematic plan to mitigate the emission of toxic pollutants during heavy pollution days.
According to CREA, the implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) has failed due to a lack of institutional accountability and insufficient air quality monitoring systems. For instance, between October 1, 2022, and February 15, 2023, 26 cities reported PM2.5 levels as being in the ‘severe+’ category, 38 cities in the ‘severe’ category, and 78 cities in the ‘very poor’ category.
Of these, 26 are non-attainment cities. Such poor levels of air quality should have initiated GRAP protocols envisaged for that particular city. However, no action was taken. Apart from Delhi-NCR, there is no information available in the public domain as to any communication or direction to relevant stakeholders for implementing GRAP measures- indicating a clear failure to enforce existing regulations.
The GRAP, first launched in 2017 only for NCR, is a set of protocols to mitigate emissions of toxic pollutants from various sources based on prevailing ambient air pollution. Subsequently, the National Green Tribunal directed all states to formulate a GRAP for all non-attainment cities (NAC). Of the 131 NACs in the country, 39 are in the IGP region. Five of these are situated within the NCR.
“While insufficient CAAQMS even in NACs underplays the toxicity of the ambient air quality, a large number of towns and cities still have not been categorised as NACs due to lack of data and consequently do not need to implement GRAP. This leaves millions of people vulnerable to the fatal consequences of toxic air,” said Sunil Dahiya, an analyst at CREA.