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Air pollution: 24 industrial units issued closure orders for violating GRAP guidelines

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The centre panel on air quality has issued closure orders to 24 industrial units in the NCR for grossly violating the air pollution-related statutes and guidelines since invoking the first stage of its Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

The measures were enforced in the National Capital Region (NCR) on October 5 by The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) on October 6.

Since then, a total of 472 incognito inspections have been carried out by the commission in industrial areas and construction projects across NCR and 52 grossly violating units and projects have been issued closure orders, CAQM said in a statement on Friday.

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“Closure orders have been issued to 24 grossly violating industrial units. Of these, 05 industrial units were still found using coal and other unapproved polluting fuels,” the CAQM said.

“Unfavourable climatic and meteorological conditions that generally prevail in the NCR during winters and farm fires have begun to adversely impact the air quality in the region,” it added.

Predicting the air quality to deteriorate by the weekend, the CAQM had on Wednesday directed authorities to enact ‘Stage II’ of the Graded Response Action Plan — a set of anti-air pollution measures followed in the national capital and its vicinity as per the severity of the situation.

The second stage plan includes banning the use of coal and firewood in hotels, restaurants and open eateries. The use of diesel generators, except for essential services, is also banned.

GRAP is classified under four stages, depending on the air quality in Delhi. Stage I is implemented in case of ‘poor’ air quality (AQI 201-300); Stage II for ‘very poor’ (AQI 301-400); Stage III for ‘severe’ (AQI 401-450) and Stage IV for ‘severe plus’ (AQI >450).

If the situation turns ‘severe’, authorities will have to enforce a ban on construction and demolition activities in NCR, except on essential projects (such as railways, metros, airports, ISBTs, national security/defence-related projects of national importance) and non-polluting activities such as plumbing, carpentry, interior decoration and electrical works.

Brick kilns, hot mix plants and stone crushers not operating on clean fuels and mining and associated activities in NCR will also be banned.

The state governments in Delhi-NCR may also impose restrictions on Bharat Stage (BS)-III petrol and BS-IV diesel light motor vehicles (four-wheelers).

The measures in the ‘severe plus’ category or Stage IV include a ban on the entry of trucks into Delhi and the plying of Delhi-registered diesel-run medium goods vehicles and heavy goods vehicles in the national capital, except those carrying essential commodities.

Four-wheeled diesel light motor vehicles, except BS-VI and those engaged in essential services, will also be banned in Delhi and bordering districts of NCR.

Stage IV will also trigger a ban on industries running on dirty fuels and construction and demolition activities in linear public projects such as highways, roads, flyovers, over bridges, power transmission and pipelines.