The emergency plan against pollution in the capital of India began last Monday with the ban on diesel generators. Meanwhile, its more than 20 million inhabitants have already suffered the first nine days with 'poor' air quality, earlier this month. This is the second year that the Step Response Response Plan (GRAP) for New Delhi is applied with the intention of mitigating the effects of pollution in the Indian megapolis; that last year he had to close his schools for a week in the wake of a health emergency by the levels of toxic pollution.
"The measures announced by the GRAP to fight against the 'very poor' and 'serious' air categories begin on October 15 and continue until March 2019", declared to the local media Hindustan Times, Sunita Narain, member of the Environmental Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA), appointed by the Supreme Court of India to implement the plan in 2017. Narain stated, however, that the measures will not affect the entire metropolitan area of Delhi due to the lack of supplies in the bedroom cities around the capital, New Delhi.
Last weekend, the Municipal Corporation of South Delhi ordered the construction activities of the Pragati Maidan complex, the largest urban development project in the capital. While another EPCA member confessed to Hindustan Times: "The use of coal was banned by the state government since July. But if the air quality falls to the level of 'serious' in the metropolitan area we will have to veto the use of such polluting fuels [diésel] in those cities for a few days. "
On Sunday, the air quality index (AQI) in New Delhi was 204, which is considered 'poor' according to the scale that establishes 50 the admissible limit; cataloging the air of 'very poor' between 301-400 and 'serious' between 401-500. Finished the Monsoon rainy season, environmental conditions deteriorate rapidly in the capital of India so it is expected that the authorities will implement other measures for when the category of 'serious' is reached. Among them, the veto to construction activities as well as the prohibition of the use of stone crushers and hot mixing plants, the increase in the price of car parks or the implementation of the plan for the use of cars with even and Odd
Despite the emergency plan of the capital, the neighboring States of Haryana and Punjab continue with the annual burning of stubble after the harvest and for the next campaign. The controlled burning of grasslands is a traditional measure of agrarian states in India and one of the main contributing factors to pollution, along with industrial pollution, vehicle gases and construction dust; aggravated by the proximity of the Himalayas, which tends to trap the cold winter air in the north of India. Hence, 14 of the 18 most polluted municipalities on the planet are located in northern India, according to the database of more than 2,600 cities developed by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The health agency's analysis is based on the measurement of fine particles (PM-2.5) per cubic meter of air, which can penetrate the lungs and blood to cause heart disease, heart attacks and cancer. Considered the world capital of pollution, Delhi concentrates 143 micrograms per year of these particles, which multiplies by 14 the levels of atmospheric toxicity. Following the crisis of last year, the Central Government introduced some measures to alleviate the burning of stubble, as the subsidy of up to 80% of certain agricultural machinery for a special treatment of straw. However, farmers in the States of Haryana and Punjab consulted by Reuters agency They indicate that the plan is not working.
Last Friday, the mayor of Delhi, Arvind Kerjriwal, said the capital would suffer the same problems as a year ago, when he himself called it "gas chamber" after the Indian Medicine Association declared the situation of "health emergency" " According to the Center for Science and the Environment (CSE), air pollution is the direct cause of around 10,000 premature deaths a year alone in the capital