EPCA: Shift all industrial units to PNG by September-end
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EPCA: Shift all industrial units to PNG by September-end

These were the forceful words of EPCA member Sunita Narain during an hour-long meeting on Saturday on ways to combat the city's dipping air quality in the coming winter months.

EPCA: Shift all industrial units to PNG by September-end

“Ensure that each industrial unit operating in Delhi is shifted to Piped Natural Gas (PNG) from high-polluting fuels by end of September this year.” These were the forceful words of Sunita Narain, a member of Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), during an hour-long meeting on Saturday at India Habitat Centre between various environmental and pollution-control agencies of the NCR.

Narain repeated her words with the same force every time she sensed inaction on the part of concerned agencies. And EPCA chairman Bhure Lal quickly added teeth to the directive to say, “Ensure that industries are not using the cheaper fuels.”  

At a round table, attended by officials of Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and others, a roadmap to combat the city’s air pollution during the coming winters was discussed.  

The Supreme Court-mandated EPCA was very clear in its approach, and it seemed to be running out of patience at the inability of concerned agencies to take necessary steps. Members kept saying: “We are not going tolerate this again... enough is enough... please ensure you have done something when we meet next time...’    

EPCA is responsible for preparing a graded action plan to control the growing air pollution in Delhi-NCR on the direction the apex court, and it directs environment and pollution-control agencies to act accordingly.

It was the EPCA that recommended a new parking policy and also the current sealing drive against illegal encroachment and commercial establishments in residential buildings.

As per the Master Plan of Delhi, industries are permitted only in industrial and redevelopment areas. According to official records, there are as many as 28 industrial areas and 22 redevelopment areas in Delhi.

During the meeting, it was learnt that nearly 1,500 industrial units have been identified to cause air pollution in the city. Presenting its data during the meeting, a DPCC official informed the committee that around one-third of industrial units have already been shifted to PNG, and several others have applied for the same.

Talking to City Spidey on the sidelines, a senior official of DPCC informed that shifting to PNG from other polluting fuels such as coal, rubber and plastic would help to bring down industrial pollution levels in the national capital to a large extent. According to a survey report by IIT Kanpur in 2016, industries contributed around 11 per cent to Delhi’s air pollution.