Delhi AQI: GRAP-3 kicks in, construction activities banned in Delhi-NCR
30 October, 2022 | Riya Girdhar
According to the Commission for Air Quality Management, states may impose restrictions on the use of BS III petrol and BS IV diesel four-wheelers in the NCR due to deteriorating air quality.
With Delhi’s pollution levels worsening, the Centre’s air quality panel directed authorities in the National Capital Region on Saturday to implement curbs such as a construction and demolition ban under the Graded Response Action Plan stage III.
The restrictions will not apply to critical projects such as national security, defence, railways, and metro rail, among others. Mining activities will also be prohibited in the area.
At 4 p.m., Delhi’s 24-hour average air quality index was 397, the lowest since January. On Thursday, there were 354 people, 271 on Wednesday, 302 on Tuesday, and 312 on Monday (Diwali).
GRAP is a set of anti-air pollution measures implemented in the capital and its surrounding areas based on the severity of the situation.
It categorises the air quality in the Delhi-NCR into four stages: Stage I is designated as ‘Poor’ (AQI 201-300); Stage II is designated as ‘Very Poor’ (AQI 301-400); Stage III is designated as ‘Severe’ (AQI 401-450); and Stage IV is designated as ‘Severe Plus’ (AQI >450).
The commission’s emergency meeting on Saturday evening noted that due to unfavourable meteorological conditions and a sudden spike in farm fire incidents, “it is considered necessary to implement Stage III of GRAP with immediate effect in the entire NCR.”
Under stage III, the authorities have been directed to impose a strict ban on construction and demolition activities in the NCR, with the exception of essential projects and non-polluting activities such as plumbing, carpentry, interior decoration, and electrical work.
Earthwork for excavation, boring, and drilling; fabrication and welding operations; loading and unloading of construction material; manual or conveyor belt transfer of raw material, including fly ash; and vehicular movement on unpaved roads are all prohibited.
It also prohibits the operation of batching plants, the laying of sewer lines, waterlines, drainage work, and electric cabling through an open trench system, the cutting and fixing of tiles, stones, and other flooring materials, grinding activities, piling work, water proofing work, road construction and repair works, including the paving of sidewalks, pathways, and central verges, and other activities.
Brick kilns, hot mix plants, and stone crushers that do not use clean fuels, as well as mining and related activities in the NCR, have been prohibited.
The NCR authorities have also been instructed to close down industries that do not use approved fuels in industrial areas with PNG infrastructure and supply.
Industries that do not use approved fuels can only operate five days a week in areas without PNG infrastructure and supply.
“On Saturdays and Sundays, paper and pulp processing, distilleries, and captive thermal power plants will be closed.” On Mondays and Tuesdays, paddy/rice processing units will be closed. Textile/garments and apparel, as well as dyeing processes, will be closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Other industries that do not fall into the above-mentioned categories must remain closed on Fridays and Saturdays,” the CAQM order stated.
Milk and dairy producers, as well as those involved in the production of life-saving medical equipment, drugs, and medicines, are exempt from the restrictions.
The measures are in addition to the restrictive measures already in place under GRAP stages I and II.
Calm winds are expected in the coming days, with wind direction changing frequently. As a result, the pollution is likely to become trapped in the region and not dispersed effectively, according to the commission. As a result, the pollution is likely to become trapped in the region and not dispersed effectively, according to the commission.