NEW DELHI : As winds begin to slow down and the National Capital Region (NCR) braces for another round of “severe" air quality days, the government on Monday rushed to put in place a 15-day action plan to fight the toxic smog.

The Parliament is set to debate the menace of air pollution on the second day of the winter session on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, we have had a spate of bad meteorology in Delhi. But we are trying to prevent the situation from worsening. We are ready to experiment or pilot any new technology that can help us fight this problem," said C.K. Mishra, secretary at the ministry of environment, forests and climate change, at a media briefing.

The announcement was made, following a high-level pollution meeting earlier in the day, which was attended by government representatives from cities in the NCR, and officials from neighbouring Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, including officials of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

“We found that apart from incursion from neighbouring states, the major sources of pollution in Delhi are local dust, the industries and vehicular emissions. For the latter, we have identified congestion points, where traffic will be regulated. We will actively carry out use of sprinklers, to settle down the dust in peak hours," said Mishra.

The 15-day period, according to the government, will witness a massive crackdown on violations, especially on illegal construction and demolition, disposal of municipal solid waste and polluting industries. The government also plans to pave all the roads in Delhi-NCR by August 2020 to address the dust problem.

The capital had heaved a sigh of relief over the weekend, with clear skies and air quality hovering over “moderate" (100-200) to “poor" (200-300) levels. But, according to the government’s air quality monitoring service, SAFAR-System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, it may fall to “very poor" category in another two days, and touch “severe" (400-500) by 21 November.

Apart from calm winds, another factor playing spoilsport to Delhi’s clear blue skies is the change in the direction of winds carrying the biomass plume from neighbouring states to north-west. The contribution of stubble burning to Delhi’s pollution, which had come down to 3% last week, may again rise to 13% on Tuesday.


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