A Supreme Court-mandated pollution control authority on Thursday said stricter measures to fight air pollution will come into force from October 15 in Delhi and its neighbourhood as part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).
The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority directed the governments of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to ban the use of diesel generators, barring for essential or emergency services, in the national capital and the vicinity towns of Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Faridabad and Gurugram.
"Large construction projects, including highways and metro, will provide undertaking to the state pollution control boards/pollution control committees that they will assure adherence to the prescribed norms for dust management," Bhure Lal, the chief of pollution watchdog, said in a letter to the states.
The pollution watchdog also said barring some economic activities, such as stopping construction work and movement of trucks, as emergency measures to control pollution will put pressure on an already stressed economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"We should try and avert the need to take other emergency measures for pollution control, the economy is already under stress post-lockdown. Therefore, our combined effort is to ensure that there is no further disruption," it said in the letter.
The pollution watchdog also stressed that prevalence of co-morbid health conditions is a huge challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic and there is enough evidence that pollution can make it more dangerous.
The measures under GRAP, which was first implemented in Delhi-NCR in 2017, include increasing bus and metro services, hiking parking fees and stopping use of diesel generator sets when the air quality turns poor.
When the situation turns "severe", GRAP recommends closure of brick kilns, stone crushers and hot mix plants, sprinkling of water, frequent mechanised cleaning of roads and maximising power generation from natural gas.
The measures to be followed in the "emergency" situation include stopping entry of trucks in Delhi, ban on construction activities and introduction of the odd-even car rationing scheme.