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GRAP Curbs Lifted Amid ‘Improved’ Air Quality; AQI Still in ‘Very Poor’ Category, Expected to Dip Further

Last Updated: November 07, 2022, 08:49 IST

An anti-smog gun being used to spray water droplets to curb air pollution, in New Delhi (PTI Photo)

A decision on reopening primary schools and revocation of the order asking 50 per cent of government staff to work from home is likely to be taken at a high-level meeting to be chaired by Delhi Environment minister Gopal Rai on Monday

Delhi AQI remains in the ‘very poor’ category even as Centre’s air quality panel directed authorities revoking curbs imposed in Delhi-NCR under the final stage of an action plan to combat air pollution. The ban on plying of non-BS VI diesel-run light motor vehicles in Delhi-NCR and entry of trucks into the capital imposed under the GRAP three days ago were lifted on Sunday.

The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) that made the decision to revoke curbs said that it will continue to keep a close watch on the air quality scenario and may take the appropriate decisions depending on the air quality, as recorded from time to time, and the forecasts made by IMD/IITM to this effect.

A decision on reopening primary schools and revocation of the order asking 50 per cent of government staff to work from home is likely to be taken at a high-level meeting to be chaired by Delhi Environment minister Gopal Rai on Monday, reports PTI.

However, according to environmentalists, the lifting of curbs could prove to be a hasty decision and advised caution. Environmentalist Vimlendu Jha told PTI, it could be too soon to revoke curbs as the air quality has improved a wee bit due to favourable wind speed and will go back to the ‘severe’ category in a couple of days.

Delhi Air Pollution Updates:

  • The National Capital Region (NCR) continued to witness bad air as Noida, which is part of the national capital region, recorded an AQI of 356, in the ‘very poor’ category, while Gurugram’s AQI stood at 364 and continued to remain in the ‘very poor category, as per data released by SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research) India.
  • Even though the air quality in Delhi continued to slide for the second consecutive day from the ‘upper end of very poor’ to the ‘very poor’ category, still, it is touching an alarming level on Monday morning as the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of the city stood at 326, per ANI.
  • Here is what the order by the Commission for Air Quality Management said:“As the present AQI level of Delhi is around 339 which is about 111 AQI points below the threshold for invoking the GRAP Stage-IV actions (Delhi AQI > 450) and preventive/ mitigative/ restrictive actions under all stages up to Stage-IV are underway, there is a likelihood of sustaining the improvement in AQI. “The forecast by IMD/ IITM also does not indicate any steep degradation further,” an order from the Commission for Air Quality Management read.
  • Dip in Delhi Pollution: Delhi’s air pollution levels ameliorated marginally to the lower end of the “very poor” category on Sunday primarily due to favourable wind speed and a drop in the contribution of stubble burning.  The 24-hour average air quality index stood at 339 at 4 pm, dropping from 381 a day ago. It was 447 on Friday, according to the Central Pollution Control Board. It had jumped to 450 on Thursday, just a notch short of the ‘severe plus’ category, prompting the authorities to invoke the final stage of anti-pollution curbs, including a ban on non-BSVI diesel light motor vehicles.
  • Punjab Far Fires: The number of farm fires in Punjab dropped sharply to 599 from 2817 a day ago, data from the Indian Agricultural Research Organisation (IARI) showed.  According to Safar, a forecasting agency under the Ministry of Earth and Sciences, the share of stubble burning in Delhi’s PM2.5 pollution also declined to 18 per cent from 21 per cent on Saturday.
  • The number of stubble-burning incidents in Punjab rose by 12.59 per cent year-on-year to 26,583 in the last 50 days with a spurt in such cases after Diwali, according to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. In comparison, the number of paddy stubble-burning events in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi remained lower between September 15 and November 4 this year, the data stated.

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