While we all accept pollution as a menace and its deadly impact on the national capital, it is so sad that very little has been done in improving the situation in the past. In this context, it was a happy news that the entire Delhi-NCR has come to know that the month of September was the cleanest in nine years.
The news came as a pleasant surprise to everyone. During the month gone by, one could feel the thinness in the air when everything was looking great. Soon, the air quality started deteriorating with the winter knocking at our doors. This was certainly not a good sign for people living in the NCR.
It is about time that everyone understood that checking pollution is of paramount importance and there should not be any lapse on that account. It can also be said that people have not been taking this seriously.
Amid all this, the Delhi government has always been brainstorming on the possible ways to check this menace. They had introduced car rationing and odd-even schemes in the past. It was intended to reduce the number of vehicles on roads to check carbon emission in the air.
However, there were many people against it. They criticised the initiatives taken by the government. People generally do not want to get out of their comforts using own vehicle.
But, given the kind of situation that is prevalent in the National Capital, people should always be ready to join hands with others in support of any such initiative taken by the government.
Now, the time has again come when the pollution would peak. As part of its plan, the Delhi government has brought Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). It came into force from Tuesday as per the Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority's (EPCA) direction.
The plan includes strict measures against the pollution. With the air quality turning very poor, the GRAP came into force from Tuesday. The plan states that with the air quality turning very poor, measures such as ban on diesel gensets, entry of trucks into the national capital should be implemented. Increase in bus and metro services, and hike in parking fees should also be enforced.
When it turns out “severe”, as per the GRAP, closure of brick kilns, stone crushers and hot mix plants should be implemented. It also prescribes sprinkling of water, frequent mechanised cleaning of roads and maximising power generation from natural gas.
The measures to be followed in “emergency” situation include ban on civil construction and introduction of the car rationing scheme.
At present, with the GRAP in force there is ban on diesel gensets across Delhi-NCR. Hence, gensets cannot operate in the high rises. There are many residents who have been criticising the move citing the lack of preparedness on the part of the plan.
Although it has been mentioned in the plan that gensets can be used for essential services like lifts and water supply, these are exceptions. But residents have their own reasons. They said there is no separate infrastructure to operate gensets only for lifts and power supply. The limitations of the plan were brought to the fore by the people.
Among other plans, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday asked Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab to depute a person to report daily on the air pollution due to stubble burning the neighbouring states. This was also one of the measures to ensure that air quality does not deteriorate further.
Moreover, the Delhi government has plans to introduce odd-even car rationing scheme from November 4 which will continue till November 15.
All these initiatives show the seriousness of the government towards maintaining the air quality to good level. As we move towards winter, these measures should get the support from the people to ensure better air quality for healthy living. It is an opportunity for the people to do their bit towards the cause.