Plan divided into four categories to combat different levels of air pollution in Delhi.
New Delhi: Observing that air quality in the national capital was “severe” for most of the month, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed implementation of a graded response action plan to combat different levels of air
The apex environment watchdog said that there was no uniformity and “unanimity” in action plans of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA).
The air-quality categorisation needs “clarity and certainty”, it said, in its order recently.
“The statistics clearly shows that all the time, the ambient air quality of NCT of Delhi is polluted and for most of the period of the month it is severe and above. This is the air quality that we are providing to the people living in NCR and NCT of Delhi. It is a violation of their fundamental right,” said a bench headed by former chairperson Swatanter Kumar.
The NGT said an approach, preventive rather than curative has to be adopted.
“Importantly, the authorities are bound to take recourse of precautionary principle and ensure clean environment to the public at large living in NCR and in fact, all over the country,” it said.
The tribunal said there was no dearth of laws, norms and directions in relation to prevention and control of pollution of the ambient air quality in Delhi.
What is required is the implementation of laws and directions.
The NGT divided air pollution into four categories — Category 1 (Average), 2 (Severe), 3 (Critical) and 4 (Environmental Emergency).
While Category 1 action plan would come into force when PM10 is more than 100 micrograms per cubic metre but less than 300 and PM2.5 is more than 60 but below 180, Category 2 will be in action when PM10 is more than 300 µg/m3 but less that 700 µg/m3 and PM2.5 is more than 180 but below 400 µg/m3.
Category 3 would be implemented when PM10 is more than 700 micrograms per cubic metre, but below 1000 µg/m3 and PM2.5 is more than 400 µg/m3 but less than 600 µg/m3 and environmental emergency would be termed when PM10 is above 1000 µg/m3 and PM2.5 is above 600 µg/m3. While CPCB has formulated six categories, which refer to different levels of pollution of EPCA’s action plan, termed graded action plan.
These are severe plus or emergency, severe, very poor, moderate to poor and moderate.