With "very poor" air quality predicted in Delhi-NCR by Saturday, the Commission for Air Quality Management Wednesday directed authorities to enact stage two of GRAP, which includes banning the use of coal and firewood in hotels, restaurants and open eateries.
The use of diesel generators, except for essential services, is also banned under stage two of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) which is a set of anti-air pollution measures followed in the capital and its vicinity according to the severity of the situation.
GRAP is classified under four stages of adverse air quality in Delhi. Stage one in a case of 'poor' air quality (AQI 201-300); stage two for 'very poor' air quality (AQI 301-400); stage three for 'severe' air quality (AQI 401-450); and stage four for 'severe plus' (AQI >450).
The sub-committee constituted for invoking actions under GRAP reviewed the air quality scenario in the region at a meeting on Wednesday.
It was noted that there is a forecast for deterioration of air quality over Delhi and the air quality index (AQI) may move into the 'very poor' category from October 22, due to calm winds and the stable atmospheric condition predicted over the capital from Saturday, the CAQM said in an order.
Also, the Diwali festival on October 24 is expected to worsen the situation further. Therefore, in an effort to prevent the deterioration of the air quality further, the subcommittee decided that all actions as envisaged under Stage II of GRAP -- 'very poor' air quality (Delhi AQI 3O1-4OO) -- be implemented in right earnest by all the agencies concerned, with immediate effect in the NCR in addition to all actions under Stage I, the order read.
The use of coal and firewood, including in tandoors in hotels, restaurants and open eateries, is not allowed under stage two.
The use of diesel generators is not allowed except for essential services related to national security, defence-related activities, projects of national importance, telecommunication, data services, medical, railway and metro rail services, airports, inter-state bus terminals, sewage treatment plants and water pumping stations.
Other measures to be taken under stage two include vacuum-based sweeping of roads every day, water sprinkling to prevent dust pollution and strict enforcement of dust control measures at construction and demolition sites.