Delhi Air Quality

Delhi Air Quality

Delhi Air Quality

This article covers “Daily Current Affairs” and the topic details “Delhi Air Quality”. The topic “Delhi Air Quality” has relevance in the Environment section for the UPSC CSE exam.

Relevance of the topic “Delhi Air Quality”

For Prelims:
What is the status of Delhi Air Quality?

For Mains:
GS 3: Environment
What is Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)?
What are the reasons for the bad air quality in the Delhi region?
Way Forward

Why in the news?

The air quality in the Delhi region is expected to improve in the coming days. In the past few days, the region has faced dusty storms coming from Haryana and Rajasthan

What is the status of Delhi Air Quality?

According to India Meteorological Department (IMD), the dust-raising strong winds flowing across Haryana and Delhi have increased particulate matter concentration significantly. 

What is Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)?

The Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) is an environmental action plan implemented by the Government of India to combat air pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR), which includes Delhi and its neighboring areas. 

GRAP was first introduced in 2017 and has since been revised and updated to address the severity of the air pollution problem in the region.

GRAP is designed to take into account the Air Quality Index (AQI) and trigger specific actions based on different levels of air pollution. It consists of a set of measures that are implemented in a graded manner, depending on the severity of pollution levels. 

The plan categorizes the AQI into different levels, such as moderate, poor, very poor, severe, and emergency. Each level triggers a specific set of actions to be taken by various government agencies and departments. These actions include:

  1. Closure of brick kilns and hot mix plants.
  2. Prohibition of garbage burning and strict enforcement of dust control measures at construction sites.
  3. Water sprinkling and mechanized road sweeping to reduce dust pollution.
  4. Strict enforcement of pollution control measures for industries and power plants.
  5. Intensification of public transport services, with a focus on electric vehicles and improving their frequency and capacity.
  6. Introduction of odd-even vehicle rationing schemes to reduce vehicular pollution.
  7. Implementation of measures to control open burning of agricultural waste and stubble.
  8. Introduction of emergency measures, such as banning the entry of trucks into Delhi, closing schools, and enforcing strict action against visibly polluting vehicles.

GRAP is implemented by a task force comprising representatives from various government agencies, including the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), and other concerned departments. The task force regularly monitors the air quality and recommends appropriate actions based on the pollution levels.

What are the reasons for the bad air quality in the Delhi region? 

There are several reasons for the poor air quality in the Delhi region. These factors contribute to the high levels of air pollution and the formation of a thick layer of smog during certain times of the year. Some of the main reasons for the bad air quality in Delhi include:

  1. Vehicular Emissions: The rapid increase in the number of vehicles on the roads of Delhi has led to a significant rise in vehicular emissions. 
  2. Industrial Pollution: The industrial activities in and around Delhi contribute to air pollution. 
  3. Construction and Dust Pollution: Construction activities generate a significant amount of dust, contributing to air pollution. 
  4. Agricultural Activities and Stubble Burning: In the neighboring states of Delhi, such as Punjab and Haryana, agricultural activities like stubble burning after harvest season contribute to air pollution in the region. 
  5. Waste Burning: Open burning of garbage, waste, and biomass releases pollutants into the air. Waste burning is a common practice in some areas, and the resulting emissions worsen air quality.
  6. Geography and Weather Conditions: Delhi’s geographical location and weather conditions exacerbate the problem of air pollution.
  7. Cooking and Biomass Fuel: In many households, especially in rural areas and slums, traditional cooking methods that use biomass fuels such as wood, crop residues, and cow dung emit smoke and pollutants indoors. The resulting indoor air pollution can also have an impact on outdoor air quality when doors and windows are opened.


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