Rising air pollution in Delhi has forced the authorities to issue a ban on the use of diesel generators from October 15, 2020 until further orders.
Air quality in Delhi has declined with the onset of winter and burning by farmers in the neighboring states and resulted in the ban of the use of diesel generators in India's capital starting Thursday, October 15th. Delhi's air quality index (AQI) was over 300 and considered “very poor”, the worst since a peak in February this year.
Under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), in an effort to improve the air quality, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) issued orders banning the use of generator sets that run on diesel, petrol or kerosene in the national capital. GRAP is a set of anti-pollution measures, enforced in Delhi and its surrounding towns, that is based on the severity of the pollution levels and was implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2017.
After a review by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) it was determined that there was an urgent need to address the sources of pollution before winter along with to establish ground-level monitoring. Under GRAP, actions include increasing public transit services, raising parking fees, and banning the use of diesel generators when the AQI turns poor. Essential services, including healthcare, railway, airports, bus terminals, and data centers are exempt from the order.
The recent directive requires the monitoring of all air pollution hotspots to ensure the EPCA plan is properly implemented and increased patrolling to ensure there is no incident of garbage burning or activities that could contribute to additional pollution. Garbage burning is a major contributor to air pollution, the DPCC said.
What does the future hold?
In the event the air quality worsens and enters the 'severe' category, GRAP recommends additional measures including utilization of natural gas for power generation, the closure of kilns and plants, and the sprinkling of water to control road dust. In an emergency situation, there will be further restrictions on the entry of trucks in Delhi, a ban on construction, and the introduction of the odd-even car rationing scheme. This could have devastating effects on an economy already under stress post-lockdown.