New Delhi, October 28: Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and adjoining areas has intensified its efforts to ensure enforcement and compliance with its directions after the air quality of the national capital plunged to the "severe" category on Friday.
The capital witnessed a drop to the severe category for the first time this season due to poor dispersion of pollutants owing to weak winds, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The forecast of the average Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi is likely to be in the "Poor" and "Very Poor" categories given the unfavourable climatic and meteorological conditions that generally prevail in the NCR during winters and the occurrence of farm fires.
"In such circumstances, the school should be closed and outdoor movement should be prohibited because severe category AQI impacts all aspects of life," Jha said.
As per the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, the commission has been informing and sensitizing all stakeholders (industrial houses, commercial establishments, construction agencies, State Govt. / GNCTD agencies, ULBs in NCR and the public at large) about the preventive, mitigative and restrictive actions required to be taken under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).
Stage-I and Stage-II of the revised Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) were invoked by the Commission on October 5 and October 19 respectively.
"Besides GRAP and a comprehensive "Policy to curb air pollution in NCR", various statutory directions, advisories and orders including have been issued by the Commission from time to time for appropriate measures by various agencies concerned," the Ministry said in a statement.
The statement further said that the standard approved fuel list for NCR bans the use of heavily polluting fuels like coal, furnace oil etc. Biomass fuels with stricter emission norms have however been permitted in NCR, outside the territorial jurisdiction of GNCTD considering the huge availability and need to promote environmentally sustainable use of biomass.
"The Commission in association with the State Governments has launched a drive for shifting all industries in NCR to cleaner fuels as per the approved list," the Ministry added.
The Commission has issued closure directions to 45 coal-based industrial units in Rajasthan. 32 coal-based units (9 in Haryana and 23 in UP) have been closed down permanently. 48 units (8 in Haryana and 40 in UP) have temporarily suspended their operations till these units are converted to approved fuels.
With the prime objective to abate the air pollution levels in the NCR, the Commission has intensified incognito field inspections through Flying Squads towards better enforcement and monitoring of compliance with all relevant air pollution-related statutes and guidelines.
The Commission urges all stakeholders to comply with and follow the statutory directions of the Commission to avoid closure notices and/ or penal action and contribute towards better air quality for NCR.
-PTC News with ANI inputs