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Anti-pollution body asks NCR cities to focus on dust control

October 25, 2020 07:47 AM


Anti-pollution body asks NCR cities to focus on dust control
Epca issues a red alert warning of a further dip in air quality; senior scientist at HSPCB says in Gurugram, dust from construction is a major reason for air pollution

Experts attributed the poor air quality to slower winds making it difficult for fine particulate matter – PM2.5 and PM10 – to dissipate. The conditions will continue till October 27, after which the wind speed may improve to over 15 kmph. parveen kumar/ht photo
Archana Mishra

Gurugram : Amid the rising air pollution levels, the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) has asked all the deputy commissioners of NCR districts in the state to focus on dust containment in their respective districts.

On Saturday, Gurugram’s air quality remained in the ‘very poor’ category for the second consecutive day, with an air quality index (AQI) of 325, as per the data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

On Friday, the city had recorded an AQI of 334 (‘very poor’) owing to increased PM2.5 level in the air.

The HSPCB’s move comes after the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (Epca) warned of further deterioration in air quality for the next two days.

In all likelihood, the situation is likely to prevail for the next two days as per the predictions made by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), which Epca shared with the state pollution board.

On October 23, Jai Bhagwan, senior scientist at HSPCB, issued a letter to all the deputy commissioners of national capital region (NCR) districts of Haryana, asking them to take precautionary measures.

“Epca issued a red alert on further worsening of air quality based on the IMD forecast. So, districts have been asked to control dust pollution, and vehicular and industrial pollution. We have asked them to take strict precautionary measures under Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) to at least prevent air quality from getting into ‘severe’ category’,” said Bhagwan.

According to him, in Gurugram, dust is a major contributor of air pollution.

“Dust pollution is due to excessive construction activity in the city. Constriction material lies uncovered, and construction and demolition (C&D) waste is dumped along roadside. Therefore, we have directed the district to increase water sprinkling in dust prone areas and usage of anti-smog guns at the construction sites,” said Bhagwan.

As reported by HT on October 22, a CPCB-led task force appointed to check air pollution in NCR region found shortcomings in dust control measures of Gurugram. According to the task force, Udyog Vihar (phase 1 and 5), and sectors 14 and 18 are major hot spots of dust pollution. To tackle the situation, regional officers of the pollution board are directed to conduct night patrolling in industrial areas.

Kuldeep Singh, regional officer, HSPCB, said that six teams have been constituted for night patrolling in the city. “Three teams each will conduct patrolling in north and south parts of the city. Other land-owning agencies have also been informed about it.”

Shakti Singh, nodal officer for Grap implementation in Gurugram, said, “Since October 15, agencies are imposing more than Rs 1 lakh as fine every day on activities causing dust pollution. More than Rs 7 lakh has been collected from offenders as penalties.”

Even Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) on Saturday directed teams for strict enforcement of pollution control measures. In its order, Vinay Pratap Singh, MCG commissioner, said that buildings can be sealed in case of violation at the construction site. Also, water and sewer disconnection can be done in case of violation by households, and commercial, institutional or industrial units. Despite repeated attempts, Gurugram deputy commissioner Amit Khatri could not be contacted for comment.

Low wind speed causing pollution

Experts attributed the reasons for poor air quality to slower winds making it difficult for particulate matter – PM2.5 and PM10 – to dissipate.

Kuldeep Srivastava, scientist at IMD, said that accumulation of pollutants due to low wind speed has led to very poor air quality in the region.

“It will continue till October 27 when the wind speed can improve to over 15 kmph, which currently has been blowing at 6kmph. These are easterly winds from Punjab and Haryana region, along with north-westerly and northern winds. Besides, pollutants due to stubble burning coming through easterly winds, particulate matter emitted through vehicles, and dust are equally getting accumulated in the Delhi-NCR,” said Srivastava.“During the night, the wind speed is comparatively less compared to the daytime. Therefore, the dispersal of pollutants is restricted,” he said

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