Delhi Grapples with Severe Air Quality: GRAP III Activated Again

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Delhi, India, faces a renewed air quality crisis as the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) records an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 447, placing it in the ‘severe’ category. The city had experienced ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ air quality in recent days, but a drop in temperature and reduced wind speed led to a rapid decline, triggering the activation of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) III by the Commission for Air Quality Management.

Environment minister Gopal Rai addressed the media, expressing concern over the deteriorating air quality. He stated, “The air quality index was in ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ category in Delhi over the last few days. However, the air quality in Delhi has deteriorated to the ‘severe’ category with AQI plunging to 400 following a dip in temperature and the reduction in wind speed. Due to this, the CAQM has implemented restrictions under GRAP III once again.”

GRAP III, a comprehensive action plan, encompasses a range of measures to mitigate air pollution and protect public health. The latest restrictions aim to curb emissions and improve air quality, focusing on key sectors contributing to pollution in the region.

About Delhi Air Quality:

The AQI, a standard metric for gauging air quality, categorizes levels from ‘good’ to ‘severe-plus.’ With an AQI between zero and 50 considered ‘good’ and above 450 falling into the ‘severe-plus’ category, Delhi’s current reading of 447 is a cause for immediate concern.

The factors contributing to this air quality crisis include a combination of meteorological conditions and anthropogenic activities. As winter sets in, temperature inversions and reduced wind speed trap pollutants closer to the ground, exacerbating the problem.

Residents and authorities are urged to adhere to the prescribed guidelines and restrictions to minimize further deterioration of air quality. GRAP III measures may include stricter controls on vehicular emissions, industrial activities, construction work, and implementation of odd-even traffic schemes.

This recurring cycle of severe air quality episodes underscores the need for sustained efforts to address the root causes of pollution in Delhi. Long-term strategies, including transitioning to cleaner energy sources, enhancing public transportation, and strict enforcement of emission norms, are essential to achieve lasting improvements in air quality and safeguard the health of Delhi’s residents