Saturday, February 27

‘Odd-even last resort’: Delhi environment minister on air pollution

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Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai said on Monday that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government can think about implementing the odd-even scheme in the national capital if other measures to control pollution fail.

“We have implemented the odd-even scheme many times in Delhi. It would be our last resort and we’ll think about its implementation if rest of the methods to curb the air pollution fail,” Rai told reporters.

Delhi’s air quality has already plunged to poor category ahead of the winter season. On Sunday, the air quality index (AQI) – a measure of the suspended PM2.5 and PM10 ultra-fine particle in the air – was 254, in the poor category, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Delhi’s AQI was recorded at 287 on Saturday.

The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) had last week announced a ban on the use of fuel-powered generators from October 15 under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), a set of anti-pollution restrictions that include pre-emptive measures to stop the air quality from deteriorating to emergency levels.

GRAP lays down sets of curbs that are enforced when AQI crosses certain thresholds – the most serious of these include a ban on trucks, odd-even road restrictions, curbs on construction work, and an advisory to shut schools.

The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), a Supreme Court-appointed body tasked with overseeing the implementation of the pollution control action plan in the National Capital Region (NCR), has said that GRAP will be enforced “with no concessions” to any state.

Farm fires and emissions from firecrackers during Diwali result in heavy concentrations of PM2.5 particles, which can lead to major health problems since they can enter the bloodstream after penetrating deep into the lungs.