ANI Photo | “Delhi govt making all-round preparation to combat increasing pollution”: Gopal Rai

Amid the rising concerns over the environment of the national capital with deteriorating air quality, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said on Tuesday that the government is making an “all-round” preparation to combat pollution.
Action will be taken against those who violate the norms, said Rai, adding that the Delhi government is preparing to come up with a ‘Winter action plan’.
“As the Diwali festival is around the corner, the Delhi government is making an all-round preparation to combat pollution. We are looking at every trivial factor that might aid in increasing pollution in Delhi. We are prepared to take strict action on those who violate the norms. The government is also preparing the ‘Winter action plan'”, Rai said while speaking to ANI here in Delhi.
“The AQI of Delhi rose above 300 the day before yesterday. As there is a change in the weather, the pollution will increase. Though, it has become better now”, he added.
While urging for cooperation from the public to tackle pollution, the environment minister said, “Though we have banned firecrackers in Delhi. But the public too needs to cooperate with the government. Since everyone out there is grappling with pollution, one needs to make a point that one does not promote activities that might lead to an increase in toxicity in the air. Through everyone’s cooperation, we can achieve the goal of a clean environment”.
Speaking on the issue of traffic jams as a factor in “fueling” pollution, Gopal Rai said, “In yesterday’s meeting, we instructed the police officials to increase the police force on the points where there are massive traffic jams. With that effect, 91 such points have been identified so that the pollution which is triggered due to the jams can be curbed”.
“In the meeting, which was held with the Union Environment Minister, we pointed out that the buses arriving from Uttar Pradesh or Haryana are those operated by Diesel, which leads to a rise in the pollution level. Though in Delhi, there are CNG or electric buses, which should be the case in Uttar Pradesh or Haryana as well”, he added.
Speaking on the second phase of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), the environment minister said, “The government is moving towards the implementation of the second phase of GRAP. The next happens to be crucial provided the Diwali festival is around the corner”.
GRAP is a set of guidelines and measures implemented to combat air pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR) of India, which includes Delhi and its surrounding areas
Earlier on Monday, Rai chaired a meeting at the Delhi Secretariat to take stock of the deteriorating air quality in Delhi-NCR and said special teams will be deputed to identify and inspect local sources of pollution.
He said that the Delhi government had reached out to neighbouring states on stubble burning, which contributed to the high levels of pollution.
Addressing media persons after today’s meeting, the environment minister said that eight more pollution hotspots other than the existing 13 have been identified, in the city and a special team will be deputed to identify and inspect local sources of pollution.
Meanwhile, the overall air quality in the national capital continued to remain in the ‘very poor’ category on Tuesday morning, as per SAFAR-India.
According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the Air Quality Index in the overall Delhi region was in the ‘very poor’ category at 303. In the Delhi University area and Pusa, the quality of air was recorded as ‘very poor’ and ‘poor’ with AQI at 335 and 242, respectively.
Air Quality Index (AQI) is a tool for effective communication of air quality status to people in terms, which are easy to understand. It transforms complex air quality data of various pollutants into a single number (index value), nomenclature, and colour.
The AQI from 0 to 100 is considered good, while from 100 to 200 it is moderate, from 200 to 300 it is poor, and from 300 to 400 it is said to be very poor and from 400 to 500 or above it is considered as severe.
Moreover, India Meteorological Department (IMD) scientist VK Soni told ANI on Monday that there will be some improvement in the air quality after the implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), but it will remain in the ‘very poor’ category until October 26.
The IMD scientist said that the AQI was close to 300 on Monday and that there are hopes that the measures taken under GRAP 2 will benefit the air quality

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