The Apex Court has approved the Central Pollution Control Board’s “graded response action plan” which defines the measures based on air quality.
- Various measures as outlined are moderate to poor, very poor, severe and severe-plus or emergency.
- The Bench has directed CPCB to put in place real-time and manual pollution monitoring stations in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to monitor the quality of air for the graded response.
- The air quality is measured on the basis of PM 2.5 and PM 10 in the atmosphere. Particulate Matter (PM) is tiny particles of dust which can cause very serious respiratory disorders and even damage the lungs.
- It is a state of emergency when PM 2.5 level is above the 300 microgram per cubic meter or when PM 10 level overshoots the 500-mark. This usually leads the authorities to close the schools, stop entry of diesel trucks into the Capital, bring all the construction activities to a complete halt, introduction of schemes like odd-even for private vehicle owners and also increase the parking fees.
- Likewise, air quality is regarded as poor when PM 2.5 level lies between 121 and 250. This leads to placing ban on diesel generators, construction and burning of garbage on landfill sites.
- Furthermore, when air quality is moderate or poor, steps like ban on garbage burning, watering of fly ash ponds, closure of brick kilns and industries which cause pollution. Mechanised sweeping of roads is also brought to a halt.
- Enforcement of the action plan will be as per the orders of Environment Pollution (Control and Prevention) Authority which is Central Government Committee for the National Capital Region. Dr. Bhure Lal is the Chairman of the same. The Court has directed the same to also file a status report on progress of setting up of more monitoring stations in Delhi and NCR.
- The Apex Court has also asked the Centre to study the harmful effects of petroleum coke and furnace oil which is used in various industries and power generation plants in NCR.