SC asks government to notify graded action plan for air quality categories

New Delhi, Dec 2 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday asked the central government to notify the “graded response action plan” for different level of air pollution in the national capital and the national capital region comprising areas of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Asking the government to notify the “graded” plan that includes the steps that would be taken to address a particular level of air pollution, the bench of Chief Justice T.S.Thakur, Justice A.K.Sikri and Justice S.A.Bobde said that the Central Pollution Control Board will install real time and manual pollution monitoring stations in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

The court order came after it approved the report submitted by the CPCB giving four category of air pollution – moderate to poor, very poor, severe and severe plus or emergency.

The report submitted to the court said that the analysis of the past air quality trend show that severe and very poor air quality is anticipated throughout the winter months of November to February and largely poor category during summer months of March to May.

Air quality Index would be categorised as poor when PM (particulate matter) 2.5 levels are between 91-120 microgramme per cubic metre or PM 10 levels are between 251-350 microgrammes per cubic metre.

In the case of very poor air quality, the PM2.5 levels are between 121-250 microgramme per cubic metre or PM 10 levels are between 351-430 microgramme per cubic metre.

Air Quality Index would be categorised as poor when PM2.5 levels are between 91-120 microgramme per cubic metre or PM 10 levels are between 251-350 microgramme per cubic metre.

In the event of Severe AQI, the PM2.5 levels are above 250 microgramme per cubic metre or PM 10 levels are above 430 microgramme per cubic metre. In the situation of Severe plus or emergency AQI, PM2.5 levels cross 300 microgramme per cubic metre or PM 10 levels cross 500 microgramme per cubic metre.

Each of the four stages involves steps that have to be taken to address the situation like in the case of moderate or poor would require stringent enforcement of ban on garbage burning in the landfills, pollution control in thermal power plants, brick kilns and industries.

The case of very poor AQI would invite curbs on the use of diesel generators, fourfold increase in parking fee and increase in public transport services including metro.

In the situation of severe plus or emergency level would result in curbs on the entry of diesel trucks in the national capital,Ahalt to the construction activities, introduction of odd-even scheme for private vehicles or including any other steps to be decided by the task force.

Besides this, the court has asked the CPCB to find out harmful affect of ther furnace oil used for generating power by the industries in the NCR and submit report to the court.

The report by the EPCA submitted to the court says that analysis of the samples of pet coke has found that sulphur level is between 69,000 ppm (imported) and 74,000 ppm (Indian). The analysis of the samples of furnace oil has found that sulphur level is between 15,000 to 20,000 ppm.

The EPCA in its report said that due to crash in the international fuel prices, the price of furnace oil and pet coke has also come down as consequence of which there was an increase in their use as fuel by the industry for power generation.

–IANS

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