The Environment Pollution – Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA) on Tuesday suggested a slew of measures to the Delhi government and other authorities to bring down the air pollution levels in the National Capital Region.
The anti-pollution body, which was mandated by the Supreme Court, suggested measures to strengthen the public transport to control vehicular pollution. The measures were announced under the Graded Response Action Plan by EPCA chairman Bhure Lal and member Sunita Narain.
Raising parking fees four times and reducing Delhi Metro fares in non-peak hours are some of the measures highlighted to tackle the “crisis situation.”
The EPCA instructed Delhi Metro to lower fares during off-peak hours for at least 10 days, and introduce more coaches and frequent services to accommodate the excess crowd.
The green body also instructed Delhi and neighbouring states – Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana – to introduce more buses to strengthen the public transport system.
In other measures, it directed a fine of Rs 50,000 on road construction agencies violating dust pollution norms in Delhi-NCR.
The panel also asked the Delhi-NCR governments to start preparing for measures like odd-even and ban construction activities if pollution aggravates.
The measures also include complete closure of brick kilns, hot mix plants and stone crushers across the region till further notice.
On Tuesday, Delhi woke up to extremely poor air quality as a thick haze blanketed the city. The pollution levels breached permissible standards by multiple times.
Central Pollution Control Board member secretary A Sudhakar informed EPCA that smoke-laden air from neighbouring Punjab and Haryana and moisture-heavy winds from the eastern region had combined with local pollutants triggering the situation.
“We are not expecting a dramatic change in the next two- three days. Shallow fog is preventing the dissipation of pollutants at the ground level,” Sudhakar said.
The authorities were expecting paddy stubble burning to come down by November 10, but it is not likely to subside before November 15, he added.
(With inputs from PTI)