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DELHI SUCCEEDS IN BENDING THE POLLUTION CURVE

September 08, 2019 11:06 AM
  • Air Pollution in Delhi has reduced by 25% in the last three years. Chief Minister Mr Arvind Kejriwal presented the data and findings of Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) as well as Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) at a press conference on Friday. 
  • Delhi Government invites suggestions from citizens to combat air pollution in the upcoming winter months, announced by Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal. People can send their suggestions to cm4cleanair@gmail.com  till 12th September.
  • Mr Kejriwal presented a comprehensive analysis of the seven reasons behind the reduction of Air Pollution in Delhi :

o   Supply of 24 hours electricity is one of the major reasons as it drastically reduced the use of diesel generators in the city.

o   The second major impact is due to the construction of the Eastern and Western Peripheral ways along with the heavy environmental compensation charges that prevented trucks entering into Delhi in large-scale during the nights.

o   Third factor was containing the pollution due to dust in the construction sites in Delhi.

o   The plantation drive in Delhi also contributed to reduce air pollution. As per the data of Forest Survey of India (FSI), the forest cover in Delhi has increased to 20.6 in 2017 from 20.2 in 2015.

o   The fifth reason is that Delhi government had closed two thermal power stations in Delhi

o   Enabling the industries to shift to LNG/PNG.

o   Lastly, the most important reason is the orders of the Supreme Court and effective implementation of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) and steps were taken depends on various categories of Air Quality like Severe, Very Poor, Poor, and Moderate etc.

  • Apart from the preventive measures, Delhi has also established the most extensive network of Continuous Air Quality Monitoring Stations (total 40) anywhere in India, and among the top 3 in Asia.

 

  • As per a recently released analysis by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) based on the data submitted by CPCB from the 38 real time monitoring stations in Delhi to the Parliament:

o   Long-term annual average PM 2.5 levels show drop: The annual average PM 2.5 levels in Delhi have stabilized and dropped. The 3-year average (2016-18) has dropped by 25% from the base three-year average from 2012-14.

o   Number of severely polluted days a year reducing: During the earlier years of this decade 2011-14, the number of days with severe plus levels (more than 300 microgramme per cum) ranged between 20-40 days during the winter months. This has reduced during 2016-18 to less than 15 days.

o   More low-pollution days during summer & monsoon months: During the summer and monsoon (April to August) number of days with AQI meeting the air quality standard for PM2.5 has increased. During 2012-14, the total number of days meeting the standard during these months was; 2012 --7 days, 2013 -- 5 days and 2014 -- 0 days. This subsequently increased to 55 days in 2016, about 77 days in 2017, about 73 days in 2018. So from a total of 12 low-pollution days over 2012-14, we have moved to 205 days over 2016-18.

  • “Delhi has thrown up important lessons for other non complying cities and regions.  Nature of actions in Delhi is not small. …. “It is important to understand from Delhi’s experience, what it takes to stabilize and bend the pollution curve”, says a report by Centre for Science and Environment.
  • Going Forward

o   Induction of 4000 buses – 3000 CNG buses and 1000 pure electric buses, all of which should arrive within a year.

o   A Comprehensive EV policy that will make Delhi the leading city with electric vehicles in the country.

o   Renewable power – Delhi has already signed PPAs for about 2000 MW of clean, renewable power.

o   Greening of PWD Roads has begun in May 2019, to beat dust pollution. 32 stretches of road will be beautified.

 

Chief Minister Mr Arvind Kejriwal on Friday invited suggestions from citizens to combat air pollution, at a Press Conference along with Transport Minister & Environment Minister Mr Kailash Gahlot, and Vice Chairman of the Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi, Mr Jasmine Shah.

Promising effective implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to contain the severe air pollution in Delhi in the months of October and November, due to stubble burning in the neighbouring states, the Chief Minister appealed to the people to send their suggestions to cm4cleanair@gmail.com till 12th September to resolve the problem.

“It is extremely essential to avoid the situation of Delhi becoming a gas chamber every year with the advent of winter, mainly due to stubble burning in the nearby states. I met the Haryana Chief Minister as well as the Union Minister for Environment and got the assurance of positive steps in this regard. At the same time, we like to know from the people about the possible steps to be taken to save our and family members from the harmful effects of air pollution in Delhi. Once we receive and study these suggestions, we will present the detailed pollution action plan of Delhi government for the upcoming winter months”, said the Chief Minister.

While announcing the initiative Mr Kejriwal presented the data and findings of the Delhi Pollution Control Board (DPCB) as well as Central Pollution Control Committee (CPCC) detailing the significant reduction of Air Pollution in Delhi, after the present government came to power in Delhi, in spite of the recent Greenpeace Report featuring Gurugram and Ghaziabad as the top two among the ten most polluted cities in the World and Delhi’s eleventh position and the consequent concerns of people about the health of children and elderly population.

The Chief Minister quoted the observations of Centre for Science and Environment, a credible agency working on pollution acknowledging the efforts of the Delhi Government to contain air pollution in Delhi – “Delhi has thrown up important lessons for other non complying cities and regions.  Nature of actions in Delhi is not small. But this has only stabilized the problem. This only indicates that how much more will have to be done at the scale and with effectiveness across the region to make a difference. As 122 cities are preparing and implementing clean air action plans under the national clean air programme. It is important to understand from Delhi’s experience, what it takes to stabilize and bend the pollution curve”. “We need to take steps on short terms and long term basis to contain air pollution in Delhi. Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi under the leadership of Jasmine Shah is working hard to devise more measures in this regard”, he added.

 “It is important to notice that Delhi witnesses reduction in Air pollution, while in other cities it increases, though Delhi witnesses obvious increase in population, vehicles and other modern amenities”,  told the Chief Minister.

As per a recently released analysis by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) based on the data submitted by CPCB from the 38 real time monitoring stations in Delhi to the Parliament:

  • Long-term annual average PM 2.5 levels show drop: The annual average PM 2.5 levels in Delhi have stabilized and dropped. The 3-year average (2016-18) has dropped by 25% from the base three-year average from 2012-14.
  • Number of severely polluted days a year reducing: During the earlier years of this decade 2011-14, the number of days with severe plus levels (more than 300 microgramme per cum) ranged between 20-40 days during the winter months. This has reduced during 2016-18 to less than 15 days.
  • More low-pollution days during summer & monsoon months: During the summer and monsoon (April to August) number of days with AQI meeting the air quality standard for PM2.5 has increased. During 2012-14, the total number of days meeting the standard during these months was; 2012 --7 days, 2013 -- 5 days and 2014 -- 0 days. This subsequently increased to 55 days in 2016, about 77 days in 2017, about 73 days in 2018. So from a total of 12 low-pollution days over 2012-14, we have moved to 205 days over 2016-18.

Mr Kejriwal also presented a comprehensive analysis of the reasons behind the reduction of Air Pollution in Delhi. He pointed out that supply of 24 hours electricity as one of the major reasons as it drastically reduced the use of diesel generators in the city. “Power cut in Delhi has been reduced by 80% to 90% comparing 11.7 crore units in 2014 and 1.7 crore units in 2018, enabling people to get electricity throughout 24 hours and hence people began to stop using diesel generators. As per the estimates, in Delhi there were 5.5 Lakh generators used at a point of time particularly in shops and markets, leading to suffocation. Four cities – Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Noida and Faridabad adjacent to Delhi together uses diesel generators with an estimated cumulative capacity - 25.5 Lakh KVA. If these generators function for just two hours, they will emit 1 ton particulate matter.   A report of Centre for Science and Environment says that due to diesel generators, pollution in cities may increase 30% to 50 %. Because of incessant power supply, this issue has been taken care of”, he said.

The second major impact is due to the construction of the Eastern and Western Peripheral ways along with the heavy environmental compensation charges that prevented trucks entering into Delhi in large-scale during the nights. It is estimated that Eastern Peripheral Way was instrumental in reducing the entry of trucks in Delhi by 33% and the impact of Western Peripheral Way might be higher. A study of CSE shows that Eastern Peripheral Way helped to reduce the pollution in Delhi by 7%. On behalf of the people of Delhi, we are grateful to the union government for the construction of Eastern and Western Peripheral ways. Also, Delhi took the first step to switch from BSIV to BSVI for petrol and diesel in April 2018.

“Also, we have strongly promoted clean last-mile connectivity by providing the largest subsidy anywhere in the country to e-rickhshaws @ Rs 30,000 per vehicle. Of the 71,092 e-rickshaws that are registered in Delhi, as many as 50,045 have availed this subsidy totalling to over Rs 104 Crores”. Said the Chief Minister.

Third factor was containing the pollution due to dust in the construction sites in Delhi. Mr Imran Hussain and other officials together ensured strictest possible enforcement of rules concerning control of dust at construction sites. Heavy fines to the tune of Rs 8 Crores have been imposed and prosecution initiated against violators. Now most of the construction sites are properly covered and the rules are strictly implemented. In this, the efforts of MCDs are also worthy to be mentioned.  

Apart from these, the plantation drive in Delhi also contributed to reduce air pollution. As per the data of Forest Survey of India (FSI), the forest cover in Delhi has increased to 20.6 in 2017 from 20.2 in 2015. It is also to be noted that in other states the rate of de-forestisation increases, while in Delhi the green cover improves.

The fifth reason is that Delhi government had closed two thermal power stations situated in Rajghat and Badarpur. Delhi has today become a model state with no coal-based power plants. First time anywhere in India has any state government shut down functioning coal power plants.

Sixth reason according to the Chief Minister is industries in Delhi also were banned to use petcoke, furnace oil, tyre oil, coal the most polluting fuels in June 2018. In Delhi, now Industries can use only LNG and PNG and lamost all industries shifted to either LNG or PNG.

Lastly, the most important reason is the orders of the Supreme Court and effective implementation of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) and steps were taken depends on various categories of Air Quality like Severe, Very Poor, Poor, Moderate etc. Supreme Court and EPCA have shown us the right direction and we worked with the right intention. It is also to be noted that anywhere in India only in Delhi NCR GRAP is implemented.  

Along with the above preventive measures, Delhi has also established the most extensive network of Continuous Air Quality Monitoring Stations (total 40) anywhere in India, and among the top 3 in Asia. This has been a great aid for strict and real-time enforcement in peak pollution periods. Also, Delhi Government’s Green Budget identified 26 point agenda for action against air pollution.

Even though the pollution has come down by 25%, we are not satisfied. We know much more needs to be done to make Delhi’s air comparable to the cleanest cities in the world, and hence our government is already working on a large number of measures to further cut down pollution

-          Induction of 4000 buses – 3000 CNG buses and 1000 pure electric buses, all of which should arrive within a year.

-          A Comprehensive EV policy that will make Delhi the leading city with electric vehicles in the country.

-          Renewable power – Delhi has already signed PPAs for about 2000 MW of clean, renewable power.

-          Greening of PWD Roads has begun in May 2019, to beat dust pollution. 32 stretches of road will be beautified. Work around ISBT Kashmere Gate Ring Road, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg has begun, by planting of variety of saplings on the central and side verges.

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