NCR To Get 20 New Air-Monitoring Stations By January
The rising levels of air pollution in national capital Delhi has called for various measures to bring these down. In order to read these levels better and get a more comprehensive picture of air pollution in the National Capital Region, the government will introduce 20 new monitoring stations.These stations will be operational by January next year in areas of Haryana bordering the capital.
Experts say that with more data from these stations, the Central Pollution Control Board's (CPCB) common air quality index (AQI) for Delhi-NCR would accurately reflect the extent of pollution in the region.
These stations were to be completed before the onset of winters, but, got delayed. The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) failed to meet the October deadline first due to the absence of a chairperson and later due to queries raised by a panel scrutinising the technical bids.
According to a senior HSPCB official, there are three parties that have made technical bids for the stations. These parties have been given a week's time to respond to the queries.
"If the panel is satisfied with the response, the financial bids will open. Then, within 10-15 days orders will be placed and then it may take around 60 days for the infrastructure to be set up as the equipment will have to be imported. Once it is done, it will not take much time for installation," the official said.
The Supreme Court (SC)-mandated Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) recently directed the HSPCB to expedite the process so that a dense monitoring network comes up by this winter itself, enabling authorities to be better prepared before the onset of winter in 2018.
*Pockets of Haryana falling in the NCR have six pollution monitoring stations.
*Uttar Pradesh is also setting up 14 new stations in its areas falling in the NCR. The state government has assured the EPCA that these stations would be added to the region-wide monitoring network by December.
*In the national capital, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee has started operations in around 20 new stations and all of them would be linked with the integrated Air Quality Index mechanism of the CPCB by the end of this month.
Steps taken by the Delhi government to curb air pollution
*In December 2016, the SC approved of the air quality index or AQI. This index is a series of colour codings shared by agencies on the level of pollution.These codes, similar to that in Beijing, will categorise the severity of pollution into four categories — moderate to poor, very poor, severe, very severe or emergency.An AQI between 0-50 is considered Good, 51-100 is Satisfactory, 101-200 is Moderate, 201-300 is Poor, 301-400 is Very Poor, and 401-500 is Severe. Each category comes with its own advisory. In case of Moderate, it warns of breathing discomfort to people with lungs, asthma and heart diseases while Severe means the air quality is so bad that it may affect even healthy people and seriously impact those with existing diseases.
*The EPCA took tough measures this year, including shutting the Badarpur thermal power plant and banning generators after air-pollution levels hit the 'very poor' and 'severe' categories.
*During the festival of Diwali, the SC had also ordered for a ban on sale-purchase and use of firecrackers to curb pollution that reaches alarming levels during and after the festival.
*The government is now preparing to introduce the Odd-Even scheme again in the coming times. In 2016, the Delhi government ran two phases of the Odd-Even scheme, the first in January and the second in April.