Delhi: Eye on pollution hotspots, Gopal Rai says all individuals, agencies must follow dust-control norms

Rai reiterated that every agency under the Delhi government, Centre as well as individuals should follow the anti-dust pollution directives at construction sites.

The Delhi government said Monday that it has started “micro monitoring” all 13 air pollution hotspots across the capital, directing deputy commissioners of municipal corporations to coordinate clean air efforts in these areas.

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai met all nine deputy commissioners and asked them to meet government agencies concerned by October 13. Six out of the 13 hotspots come under South Corporation, five under the North body while two fall under the jurisdiction of the East corporation. “Every government agency should stay in touch with these DCs for any work in these hotspots. We will also monitor these spots from the green war room,” Rai told a press conference.

Editorial| Pollution amid Covid

The Central Pollution Control Board and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee had identified the hotspots — Rohini, Dwarka, Okhla Phase-2, Punjabi Bagh, Anand Vihar, Vivek Vihar, Wazirpur, Jahangirpuri, R K Puram, Bawana, Mundka, Narela and Mayapuri — and specific action plans for them were drawn up in 2019 by the EPCA.

Rai reiterated that every agency under the Delhi government, Centre as well as individuals should follow the anti-dust pollution directives at construction sites. “Firstly, 10 metre thick tin sheds should be installed in all construction sites to contain dust. These shades should be covered with green sheets. The agencies should sprinkle water at the area and outside the area too. For areas more than 20,000 square metres, anti-smog guns should be installed. Smaller sites should sprinkle water regularly. Construction sites and adjacent areas should be covered with a net. Lastly, vehicles carrying construction material should also be covered and wheels of these trucks should be washed regularly,” Rai said.

Every year, fines running into crores are imposed by DPCC and civic bodies on agencies flouting dust pollution norms. In 2019, by the first week of November, fines over Rs 2 crore were imposed.

He said, “Today, I want to request all government agencies and individuals to follow these five norms. Maintaining these norms is not expensive; if everyone follows these norms, it will help every citizen in the time of Covid to fight toxic air. But if anyone does not follow these directives of the Delhi government, we will take stringent action against such agencies and individuals. I have witnessed agencies are only putting covers at the sites when they are getting the news that the Delhi government teams will be visiting. This is not the right attitude. This is a collective responsibility of every citizen.”

He added that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will launch the spraying of the bio-decomposer to prevent stubble burning at Outer Delhi’s Narela’s Hiranki Village Tuesday. “Initially, we had decided to start spraying work at Najafgarh but due to water in the farmland that will not be possible,” Rai said.

According to the Centre’s System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research, impact of stubble burning on PM 2.5 concentration in Delhi on Monday was 3%. Impact is likely to be negligible in the coming two days as well, it said.

In 2016, an IIT-Kanpur study had estimated the total PM10 emission load in the city at 143 tonnes per day and listed the top contributor as road dust (56%) and the PM2.5 load at 59 t/d, the top contributors being road dust (38%) and vehicles (20 %), followed by domestic fuel burning and industrial point sources.

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