Home / News / India /  Delhi's air quality nears ‘severe plus’, authorities order stage 4 measures

With Delhi's air quality index (AQI) a notch short of entering the "severe plus" category, Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region & Adjoining Areas has ordered to implement the fourth stage of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP-4) in Delhi-NCR.

As part of anti-pollution measures under the final stage of the GRAP, a central panel ordered authorities to prohibit the entry of trucks into the capital as well as the use of four-wheeled diesel light motor vehicles in Delhi and neighboringNCR districts.

An order from the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), however, exempts BS-VI vehicles as well as those used for essential and emergency services.

According to the order, the state government may decide whether to close schools, prohibit non-emergency commercial activity, and regulate vehicle traffic on an odd-even basis.

Work from home policies may be decided by the federal and state governments.

"Ban on plying of 4-wheeler diesel LMVs in NCT of Delhi and Districts of NCR bordering Delhi, except BS-VI vehicles and vehicles used for essential/emergency services," the order read.

A ban on diesel-powered medium and heavy goods vehicles in the nation's capital was also issued by the CAQM. Exemptions apply to those who transport essential goods and render essential services.

Other than electric and CNG trucks, entry into Delhi is prohibited as well. Those who are carrying necessities are exempted.

The CAQM also directed closure of all industries running on non-clean flues in the region, "even in areas which do not have PNG infrastructure and supply".

Delhi's 24-hour average AQI stood at 450 on Wednesday.

An AQI of 400 or higher is deemed "severe," and it can have an adverse effect on both healthy individuals and people who already have medical conditions.

The residents of Delhi stand to lose 10 years of life expectancy as a result of poor air quality, according to the EPIC Air Quality Life Index (AQLI), which was published in June.

Given the rising pollution levels, the CAQM had instructed officials to impose a ban on construction and demolition work in Delhi-NCR on Saturday, with the exception of necessary projects and other curbs under the third stage of the GRAP.

First implemented in 2017, the GRAP is a set of anti-air pollution measures followed in the capital and its vicinity according to the severity of the situation.

It classifies the air quality in the Delhi-NCR under four different stages: stage 1 - "poor" (AQI 201-300), stage 2 - "very poor" (AQI 301-400), stage 3 - "severe" (AQI 401-450) and stage 4 - "severe plus" (AQI above 450).

This year, restrictions on polluting activities are being put in place based on forecasts three days in advance.

In the past, the authorities would only put the measures into place once the PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations reached a certain point.

(With inputs from agencies)

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