With the festive season at its peak in Delhi NCR, there is always a fear of rising air pollution. With the Winter season approaching, it becomes imperative to come up with control measures to protect the capital from getting shrouded under layers of smog.
The Delhi Government has launched a month-long intensive anti-dust campaign starting October 6, 2022. Environment Minister Gopal Rai announced the launch of the initiative saying that the anti-dust campaign will be run in Delhi from today till November 6, 2022. Under this, all construction sites must follow all 14 anti-dust norms. Strict action will be taken against violators.
586 teams including 33 DPCC teams have been formed to implement and monitor the anti-dust norms. On violation of anti-dust norms at construction sites, fines ranging from 10 thousand to 5 lac+ are to be imposed by the government as per NGT guidelines. An amount above 5 lac can also be imposed on the repetitive violations of the NGT guidelines.
Gopal Rai said, "In the first phase of the Winter Action Plan, we operationalised a war room in the Delhi Secretariat on October 3rd. Today, we are starting an anti-dust campaign in Delhi. We have collaborated with several agencies to form 586 teams to monitor the implementation of this campaign. Out of these 586 teams, 33 teams came from DPCC, 165 teams from Revenue Department, 300 teams from MCD, 20 teams from DSIDC, 14 teams from Delhi Jal Board, 33 teams from DDA, 3 teams from Delhi Metro, 6-6 each team from CPWD and PWD, 1 team from NDMC, 4 teams from Delhi Cantonment Board and 1 team from NHAI.”
He continued that under the anti-dust campaign, these 586 teams will monitor if the 14 rules related to construction are being followed by the sites across Delhi or not. These 14 rules are: First, all the construction companies have to build huge tin walls around the construction sites to stop the dust from spreading. Second, to stop dust pollution, earlier, it was mandatory to install an anti-smog gun on site with an area greater than 20 thousand sq meters till now. But now there is a modification in this provision and each site with an area above 5 thousand sq meters needs to have an anti-smog gun. A construction site with an area between 5 thousand sq meters to 10 thousand sq meters needs to have one anti-smog gun. Construction sites sized between 10 thousand sq meters to 15 thousand sq meters are required to have two anti-smog guns and sites having a size between 15 thousand sq meters and 20 thousand sq meters need to have three anti-smog guns. Construction sites with an area greater than 20 thousand sq meters are required to have four anti-smog guns.
He added, “Third, construction or demolition work is required to be covered with tents or nets. Fourth, it is mandatory to clean the vehicle, including its tires, carrying the construction materials. Fifth, it is also mandatory to cover construction-related vehicles. Sixth, construction materials and debris from demolition are required to be thrown at a designated spot and not around the sites or in their vicinity. Seventh, any construction material like soil or sand cannot be left uncovered. Eighth, stone cutting during construction cannot be done in the open and wet jetting should be used to cut stones. Ninth, it is required to spray water in non-cemented and muddy areas to avoid the spreading of dust. Tenth, construction or demolition sites with an area greater than 20 thousand sq meters need to have a metalled road with black topple so that transportation of vehicles does not result in spreading of dust.”
Gopal Rai said, “Eleventh, waste generated during construction or demolition has to be recycled on the site itself or at a designated place. A record of the same should be maintained. Twelfth, it is mandatory to provide dust masks to the workers involved in loading-unloading or carrying the construction material and debris. Thirteenth, medical facilities should be arranged for the workers working on construction sites. Fourteenth, sign boards depicting measures to reduce dust on construction sites should be put up prominently. All the sites have to follow these rules and action will be taken if someone defaults in following them. A penalty from Rs 10 thousand to up to Rs 5 lakhs can be imposed and if there is a serious violation, we will order a shutdown of the construction site.”
He concluded by highlighting that the GRAP system has been in force in Delhi as per which all the construction sites with an area above 500 sq metres need to register on the portal. If they are not registering themselves, they will be barred from further construction. Moreover, PUC checking and water sprinkling campaigns are implemented with effective monitoring.
He said, "I am appealing to the people of Delhi to follow these 14 rules from today. If you come across someone not following these rules in your neighbourhood, on any construction site or anywhere across Delhi, you can complain on the Green Delhi App by clicking photographs. This will aid us in monitoring and implementing the campaign better."