Delhi smog: Deregistration of 15-year-old diesel vehicles begin, fire crackers during marriages banned; govt issues advisory

The Delhi government on Monday imposed a ban on use of fire crackers except for religious functions.

Delhi smog: Deregistration of 15-year-old diesel vehicles begin, fire crackers during marriages banned; govt issues advisory

Delhi: The Delhi government on Monday imposed a ban on use of fire crackers during marriages and other events except for religious functions, following directions from Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to bring down air pollution.

They also started the process of deregistration of 15-year-old diesel vehicles in the city.

At the same time, the government asked people to avoid highly-polluted areas and those with lung diseases were told not to venture out for any activities.

Jung today chaired a high-level meeting attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, Environment Minister Imran Hussain and representatives from other agencies.

A senior official at the LG office said decisions taken today will be reviewed in the next meeting on November 15.

Apart from that, ban on construction and demolition activities will continue till November 14 and overloaded trucks and such non-destined will not allowed in the national capital.

The LG has also issued strict action against polluting industries running in Delhi particularly in non-conforming areas and directed MCD and Delhi Police to jointly launch operations to shut down all such industries.

Due to deregistration of 15-year-old diesel vehicles, about 2 lakh such vehicles will go off the capital's roads.

The move comes a day after Kejriwal announced closure of all schools till Wednesday, ban on construction and demolition activities for next five days and temporary closure of Badarpur Power Plant.

In its July order, National Green Tribunal (NGT) had directed Delhi government to de-register diesel vehicles older than 10 years. Later, the NGT had directed the city administration to deregister 15 years old diesel vehicles in first phase.

Also ReadDelhi smog: All schools closed for 3 days; demolition, construction work banned as emergency measures

Today's meeting was intended to discuss the serious condition of air pollution in city and directed all agencies concerned to ensure immediate measures required to mitigate air pollution in Delhi are strictly implemented.

"Deregistration of 15-year-old diesel vehicles started from today. Directions have been issued to all registering authorities/MLOs to start deregistration of diesel vehicles which are more than 15 years old in a phased manner. This will bring about a reduction of 2 lakh diesel vehicles on the roads in Delhi," LG office said in a statement, as per PTI.

"Strict enforcement of ban on construction/demolition activities will be in place from November 7 to 14. Municipal authorities and Delhi Police will ensure its strict implementation and prosecute violators," the statement said.

Jung said that all authorities concerned must come together on a war footing while assigning responsibilities to various agencies for strict implementation of decisions.

MCD has been asked to take all measures to control fire in landfill sites, particularly Bhalaswa. They will be doing so by using PWD construction and demolition malba and sludge generated by water treatment plants of DJB.

Delhi Transport Department and police have been directed not to allow entry of overloaded trucks and non-destined trucks in the city entering from Rajasthan, UP, Haryana etc with immediate effect. 

Delhi's air quality improves marginally as wind speed picks up

Meanwhile, Delhi's air quality improved marginally today as wind speed picked up dispersing the pollutants and the thick cover of hazardous haze that shrouded the city for nearly a week.

However, monitoring agency SAFAR had 24-hour-average (rolling) level of respirable pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 in the 'severe' category at 622 and 808 micrograms per cubic metre respectively at 5 PM.

The 24-hour-average Air Quality Index (AQI) recorded by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) was 423 as against yesterday's 497 which was the season's worst.

The visibility also improved as the city witnessed sunshine after several days.

"The air quality has improved due to a little increase in wind speed, although the wind direction continues to be north-northwest. By Wednesday wind speed is likely to increase more and wind direction will also be easterly which is likely to further improve the air quality and turn it very poor from severe," Project Director of SAFAR Gufran Beig told PTI.

The wind direction is important from the point of view of stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana which falls in the northest region. Wind blowing from that direction brings pollutant-laden smoke to Delhi.

The Delhi Pollution Control Committee's (DPCC) real-time readings displayed a downward trend cutting across its monitoring stations.

The city's pollution hotspot Anand Vihar had a PM 10 reading of 1640 micrograms per cubic metre at 4 AM. It came down to 580 by 5 PM while PM 2.5 was at 145 micrograms per cubic metre.

At Punjabi Bagh, PM 10 came down to 214 micrograms per cubic metre at 5 PM from a high of 1270 recorded at 10 AM.

Other stations like Mandir Marg and RK Puram displayed similar trends. PM 2.5 and PM 10 are ultrafine particulates, the dominant pollutants in Delhi, which has recently been described as a "gas chamber" by Kejriwal.

The 24-hour prescribed standards of PM 2.5 and PM 10 are 60 and 100 respectively and prolonged exposure to anything beyond that harms the respiratory system and may cause cardiac complications. 

(With Agency inputs)

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