EPCA to meet states for 'by default' GRAP enforcement if air quality falls

The Supreme Court-appointed environment body has on Friday called a meeting with governments of Delhi's neighbouring states to ensure that necessary measures and restrictions are imposed "by default" without wait if air quality drops, officials said on Thursday.

The Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) will hold the meeting with the governments of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan in this regard. 

Earlier this month, as air pollution reached its threshold around Delhi and NCR, the EPCA had to impose emergency steps thereby ordering restrictions proposed under Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) as immediate remedies to control the pollution.

However, while the National Green Tribunal (NGT) earlier this month ordered for by default imposition of required restrictions under GRAP depending on the severity of air pollution, the EPCA is mulling to make the system more spontaneous.

"The meeting will include all the stakeholders including the state governments and the pollution control boards. The purpose is to ensure the quick GRAP enforcement," Polash Mukherjee, researcher at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and member EPCA told IANS.

Earlier in November, as a thick yellow smog blanket engulfed Delhi, EPCA for the first time imposed the "severe plus or emergency" category under GRAP.

The GRAP under EPCA, includes several restrictions in Delhi-NCR including -- closing schools, banning diesel generator sets, hike in parking fee, augmentation of public transportation, implementation of odd-even road rationing scheme, stopping construction activities, water sprinkling to avoid dust-pollution, closing down the brick kilns and ban on the entry of trucks in the national capital including others.

This year, EPCA imposed "severe-plus or emergency" category of GRAP from November 7 to 15, under which all measures and restrictions were imposed except the odd-even scheme, due to the disagreements between the Delhi government and the NGT. 


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