GRAP measures come into force in NCR as pollution level likely to spike after Oct 21


With air quality likely to touch the “moderate” to “poor” range between October 21 and 24, certain measures under this category of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) was implemented with immediate effect in National Capital Region (NCR) from October 18.

The Central Pollution Control Board has directed the agencies concerned to ensure that all brick kilns remain closed, there is no garbage burning and periodic mechanised sweeping or water sprinkling on roads is undertaken. It has also directed authorities to increase vigilance to ensure strict adherence to PUC norms and show zero tolerance for visible emissions.

According to the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), rainfall and north-easterly winds are likely to keep the pollution levels low for the next few days. But it may see a spike again between October 21 and 24 as the wind direction changes. “As of now, we have weather forecasts until October 24. The north-westerly winds are expected to start from October 21 (Thursday). If there are a high number of garbage burning incidents, it may spike the pollution levels,” Utsav Sharma, regional officer of UPPCB, said. On October 19, the CPCB recorded AQI at 79 and 78 in Noida and Greater Noida.

Officials said that the pollution control board was keeping a close check on the eight pollution hotspots in Noida and has sought daily reports from the departments concerned on the GRAP implementation. 

The air pollution hotspots in GB Nagar include the Noida-Greater Noida expressway, underpass and other construction sites along the expressway, Sectors 7x and 150, UPSIDA industrial area, Hindon Pushta, Dadri Road and Greater Noida West. The key sources of pollution in most of these hotspots are road dust and construction activities. Along the expressway and Greater Noida West, vehicular emission is also a major contributor while unpaved areas, too, add to pollution in UPSIDA area.

The action points that need to be ensured include forming Quick Response Teams (QRTs), installation and operation of anti-smog guns at construction sites, all approved mining sites to ensure compliance of dust abatement measures and industries to ensure that air pollution control devices are operational.

All authorities also have to ensure regular deployment of mist sprinklers and regular mechanical sweeping. 

UPPCB officials told TOI that steps like forming QRT, mechanical sweeping and controlling industrial emissions have already been undertaken. However, the process of installing anti-smog guns and ensuring that all construction material is kept covered was still underway. “The authorities have started the installation but it will take some time. We are monitoring the process and it will be done soon,” said a UPPCB official.

Snehil Sinha, TNN, Delhi/NCR

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