Delhi pollution: emergency measures lifted as air quality improves

Delhi pollution: emergency measures lifted as air quality improves

With a marginal improvement in Delhi's air quality, a Supreme Court appointed high-powered panel on Thursday recommended withdrawal of emergency measures like the entry of trucks and halting constructions activities in the national capital region.

The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority wrote to the chief secretaries of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, informing them about its decision to revoke the exigency steps that were brought in on November 8 after Delhi's air became too dangerous to breathe.

The emergency measures may be lifted with "immediate effect" as the prevailing air quality did not warrant such tough actions, wrote EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board's air pollution index, Delhi's air is "very poor" as on Thursday (363 out of 500).

This is an improvement from the situation last week when the index was in the "severe" category.

A pollution blanket continues to envelop the national capital region but the thickness of the blanket has reduced in the last four days.

"We are watching the situation very carefully and we have been informed by the Meteorological Department and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology that pollution may rise again because of increased moisture in the air in the coming days. If the conditions continue to improve and air quality stabilises, we will review the measures and inform you accordingly," Lal wrote.

However, a confusion remains on the entry of trucks with the Delhi Traffic Police coming out with a notification extending the prohibition indefinitely. The department is yet to issue a clarification.

Another set of anti-pollution measures – imposed a day before the introduction of the crisis management measures – would remain in place.

They include the closure of brick kilns, hot mix plants and stone crushers, increased frequency of metro rail services, mechanised road sweeping, the sprinkling of water and penalising construction firms whose dust control methods are inadequate.

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