The winter is yet to set its feet in Delhi-NCR but the Air Quality Index (AQI) has already gone down to ‘very poor’ and ‘poor’ category in Delhi and Noida respectively.
The average AQI of Noida, which was recorded at 235 on Monday morning, has gone up to 293 on Tuesday morning which is close to ‘very poor’ category.
As per the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), a combat action plan set up by Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) in 2017, an AQI between 51 and 100 is considered ‘satisfactory’, 101-200 ‘moderate’, 201-300 ‘poor’, 301-400 ‘very poor’ and ‘401-500’ ‘severe’.
Last winter, the Delhi-NCR had suffered one of the worst bouts of pollution when AQI had reached ‘severe’ category for over two weeks.
Like in Delhi, the officials in Gautam Budh Nagar district administration attributed the rise in air pollution level to stubble burning in neighbouring states Punjab and Haryana.
Talking to City Spidey, the officials of Gautam Budh Nagar claimed that the administration has alerted major construction firms, authorities and Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) to ensure water sprinkling and adoption of all necessary measures to check pollution in upcoming days.
“Observing the changes in air quality in the past few days, all the departments responsible for curbing air pollution have been alerted. Some necessary steps like the sprinkling of water on roads and mechanical sweeping of roads have already started,” said Anil Singh, a senior official of UPPCB at the regional office in Noida.
He further stated that regional office will act according to the direction of EPCA as it has setup Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) for entire Delhi-NCR.
With the air quality has already reached ‘very poor’ category in Delhi last Sunday, many measures have been implemented in Delhi.
Replying to the City Spidey’s queries on its failure to control dust caused by construction works by real estate firms in Noida and Greater Noida and ban on generator sets even during worst situation, Singh said, “If the situation goes worse and monitoring body (EPCA) orders to stop construction works, we will enforce it.”
However, he accepted that construction works were not fully stopped last year. “See, the situation in Delhi and Noida is different. In Delhi, there is no dearth of the power supply while power shortage is a bigger issue in Gautam Budh Nagar. This was the main reason why EPCA had not ordered the ban of generator sets,” Singh concluded.
Noida-based environment activists believe that the poor conditions can be avoided if the precautionary measures to control pollution are enforced throughout the year instead of being executed only when the condition worsens.
Vikrant Tongad, Noida based environmentalist talking to City Spidey said, “Dust emerging from construction sites and brick kilns are two major sources of air pollution in the district. The administration comes into action only when pollution levels rise to an alarming level.”
“Moreover, the techniques used to control air pollution are outdated. Latest techniques such as vacuum cleaner to clean roads and others are nowhere in their list,” he added.
Tongad further said that the poor environmental conditions have just begun. It is expected to worsen in the coming days.