Delhi Air Alert: Centre bans non-essential construction, polluting 4-wheelers

In anticipation of smoggier days ahead in a fresh cold wave as schools reopen, GRAP III is back in effect in Delhi NCR

Representative image of masked citizens near India Gate flinching from the cold in their winter garments on a smog-clouded day (photo: National Herald archives)
Representative image of masked citizens near India Gate flinching from the cold in their winter garments on a smog-clouded day (photo: National Herald archives)
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PTI

The central government today, 14 January, again ordered a ban on non-essential construction work and the plying of BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel four-wheelers in the Delhi NCR in view of worsening air quality.

The Commission for Air Quality Management, a statutory body responsible for forming air pollution reduction strategies for the region and ensuring their implementation, noted a significant rise in Delhi's AQI (averages of 458 and 457 at 10 am and 11 am) due to unfavourable climatic conditions and local pollution sources.

Anticipating a prolonged period of severe air quality, the committee decided to implement GRAP Stage-III curbs (corresponding to a 'severe' AQI range) immediately, to prevent further deterioration.

The curbs include a ban on non-essential construction work and the plying of BS III petrol and BS IV deisel four-wheelers in the region.

Construction work related to national security or defence, projects of national importance, healthcare, railways, metro rail, airports, inter-state bus terminals, highways, roads, flyovers, overbridges, power transmission, pipelines, sanitation and water supply are exempted from the ban.

The Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) is the Centre's air pollution control plan implemented in the region during the winter season.

It categorises actions into four stages based on the air quality index (AQI):

  • Stage I — 'Poor' (AQI 201–300);

  • Stage II — 'Very Poor' (AQI 301–400);

  • Stage III — 'Severe' (AQI 401–450); and

  • Stage IV — 'Severe Plus' (AQI>450)

The NCT (National Capital Territory) is already at the last measurable stage, and has been known to approach or cross 1,000 on its worst days

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