It has already reached the "very poor" category and, if unchecked, could turn “severe” on October 20 and 21, warns Environment Pollution Control Authority.
Delhi’s air quality, which has already reached the “very poor” category a couple of days back, is likely to enter the “severe” category post-Diwali morning or October 20, warned Centre-appointed committee Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA).
Addressing a press gathering at India Habitat Centre yesterday evening, Sunita Narain, a member of EPCA, said, “Reports collected from Delhi-NCR and neighboring states — UP, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan — indicates that Delhi’s air quality could enter the ‘severe’ category after Diwali — especially on October 20 and 21.”
Narain also said, “But this time, Delhi would be more responsible for turning the city’s air quality poisonous. The drastic increase in the number of vehicles on roads, poor waste management, dust on roads and fire at landfill sites like Ghazipur are more responsible than crop burning in neighbouring states for the rapidly falling quality.”
EPCA has also asked the Delhi government to impose a ban on Badarpur thermal power plant and use of diesel generators with immediate effect in the city.
Acting on the direction of Supreme Court, EPCA along with Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has prepared a Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to combat air pollution in Delhi-NCR.
According to Air Quality Index (AQI), if PM 2.5 crosses 300 micrograms, Delhi’s air quality would enter the “severe” category. If it reaches 500 micrograms, the situation would enter "emergency" category.
However, EPCA chairman Dr Bhure Lal said, “There are very few chances of the air quality crossing the severe category. But if it happens, authorities would need to take immediate steps, such as close down schools.”