Prelims Level
Mains Level
Prelims Syllabus : Environment- Pollution & Waste Management Mains Syllabus : GS-III- Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.

Why in News?

  • Starting October 15, some stricter measures to fight air pollution will come into force in Delhi’s neighbourhood, as part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).
  • As pollution rises, and it is expected to as winter approaches, more measures will come into play depending on the air quality.

Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP):

  • In 2014, when a study by the WHO found that Delhi was the most polluted city in the world, panic spread in the Centre and the state government.
  • Approved by the Supreme Court in 2016, the plan was formulated after several meetings that the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) held with state government and experts.
  • The result was a plan that institutionalized measures to be taken when air quality deteriorates.
  • GRAP works only as an emergency measure.
  • Three major policy decisions that can be credited to EPCA and GRAP are the closure of the thermal power plant at Badarpur, bringing BS-VI fuel to Delhi before the deadline set initially, and the ban on Pet coke as a fuel in Delhi NCR.

How it Works?

  • As such, the plan does not include action by various state governments to be taken throughout the year to tackle industrial, vehicular and combustion emissions.
  • When the air quality shifts from poor to very poor, the measures listed under both sections have to be followed since the plan is incremental in nature.
  • If air quality reaches the severe+ stage, GRAP talks about shutting down schools and implementing the odd-even road-space rationing scheme.
  • Severe+ or Emergency
    • (PM 2.5 over 300 µg/cubic metre or PM10 over 500 µg/cu. m. for 48+ hours)
    • Stop entry of trucks into Delhi (except essential commodities)
    • Stop construction work
    • Introduce odd/even scheme for private vehicles and minimise exemptions
    • Task Force to decide any additional steps including shutting of schools
  • Severe
    • (PM 2.5 over 250 µg/cu. m. or PM10 over 430 µg/cu. m.)
    • Close brick kilns, hot mix plants, stone crushers
    • Maximise power generation from natural gas to reduce generation from coal
    • Encourage public transport, with differential rates
    • More frequent mechanized cleaning of road and sprinkling of water
  • Very Poor
    • (PM2.5 121-250 µg/cu. m. or PM10 351-430 µg/cu. m.)
    • Stop use of diesel generator sets
    • Enhance parking fee by 3-4 times
    • Increase bus and Metro services
    • Apartment owners to discourage burning fires in winter by providing electric heaters during winter
    • Advisories to people with respiratory and cardiac conditions to restrict outdoor movement
  • Moderate to poor
    • (PM2.5 61-120 µg/cu. m. or PM10 101-350 µg/cu. m.)
    • Heavy fines for garbage burning
    • Close/enforce pollution control regulations in brick kilns and industries
    • Mechanised sweeping on roads with heavy traffic and water sprinkling
    • Strictly enforce ban on firecrackers
  • Measures taken:
    • One criticism of the EPCA as well as GRAP has been the focus on Delhi.
    • While other states have managed to delay several measures, citing lack of resources, Delhi has always been the first one to have stringent measures enforced.
    • In a recent meeting that discussed the ban on diesel generator sets, the point about Delhi doing all the heavy lifting was also raised.
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