Delhi Government Considers One-Week Construction Ban in Severe Air Quality Zones

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    The Delhi government is considering a one-week ban on construction activities in areas where the air quality is classified as ‘severe,’ or above the 400 mark on the Air Quality Index (AQI) for seven consecutive days. The decision comes as the city’s AQI has hovered around 350 for the past 4-5 days and is expected to deteriorate further due to adverse meteorological conditions, characterized by a drop in temperature and calm winds.

    Delhi’s Environment Minister, Gopal Rai, announced this plan on November 1, citing the ongoing poor air quality and the persistence of unfavorable atmospheric conditions. Meteorologists attribute the deteriorating air quality to these factors, which are anticipated to continue for the next few days.

    The situation in Delhi is critical for the next 15-20 days. While the Central government’s Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP-II) measures are currently in effect to address very poor category pollution, pollution levels in the city continue to rise. The AQI scale categorizes air quality as follows: 0-50 (good), 51-100 (satisfactory), 101-200 (moderate), 201-300 (poor), 301-400 (very poor), and 401-500 (severe).

    To combat the worsening air quality, the Delhi government is planning to implement a construction halt within a one-kilometer radius of areas where the AQI exceeds the 400 mark for seven consecutive days. Nodal officers have been instructed to rigorously enforce air pollution control measures in such areas. Additionally, the government has issued directives to all departments and resident welfare associations to distribute heaters to security guards to discourage biomass or coal burning.

    The Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) serves as an emergency response system triggered when air pollution levels reach certain thresholds. When the AQI falls within the “poor” category (201-300), Stage 1 of GRAP is activated. The subsequent stages are deployed as the AQI advances towards ‘very poor’ (301-400), ‘severe’ (401-450), and ‘severe+’ (above 450) categories. Construction activities in Delhi and the National Capital Region are prohibited under GRAP-III, which is yet to be implemented in the region.

    Also Read: Gurugram’s Battle Against Air Pollution: Anti-Smog Gun Shortage Raises Concerns

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