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Delhi enforced 8-point action plan as per Stage-III of GRAP measures

Utkarsh Classes 03-11-2023
Delhi enforced 8-point action plan as per Stage-III of GRAP measures Environment 11 min read

The Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) subcommittee decided to implement Stage-III of GRAP in response to the declining air quality in the National Capital Region (NCR). The restrictive measures outlined in GRAP Stages I and II will also be implemented. According to the Central Pollution Control Board's (CPCB) daily AQI Bulletin, Delhi's average Air Quality Index (AQI) was 392, rising to 402. The increase in air pollution has been attributed to poor weather, an increase in field fires, and North-Westerly winds pushing pollutants into Delhi. The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has urged NCR residents to follow the guidelines outlined in the GRAP Citizen Charter.

What is a Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)?

  • The Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) is a series of emergency measures that come in if air quality in the Delhi-NCR area hits a particular level.
  • It was announced by the Supreme Court in 2016 following its ruling in the case of M. C. Mehta vs. Union of India and it was authorized in 2017.
  • It was implemented as an emergency response mechanism, and it is activated when the AQI exceeds "Poor" levels.

Who implements GRAP?

  • GRAP implementation is overseen by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in the NCR and surrounding areas. 
  • The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) used to direct states to execute GRAP measures till 2020.
  • The CAQM began implementing the GRAP in 2021. 
  • It works in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • In the event  of conflict between the State governments and the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), the CAQM's instructions and directions will take precedence.
  • Member of GRAP operationalization subcommittee are as follows:
    • Officials from the CAQM, 
    • member secretaries of pollution control boards in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, 
    • Central Pollution Control Board, 
    • an IMD scientist and an IITM scientist, 
    • a Health Advisor 
  • Other Agencies responsible for executing GRAP measures are
    • Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) of NCR
    • Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC)

What are different stages of GRAP ? 

GRAP is divided into four stages, each with specific activities to be performed by the appropriate authorities and agencies. These are as follows:

 

State No

Category

AQI range

Description

Stage I

‘Poor’ Air Quality

201-300

  • Enforce NGT , or 
  • Order of the Honourable Supreme Court on over-aged diesel-petrol cars.

Stage II 

'Very Poor'

301-400

  • Strict measures to reduce air pollution in the hotspots in the region.

Stage III

'Severe'

401-450

  • Impose tight limits on BS III petrol and BS IV diesel four-wheelers in some locations, and stop physical education programmes in schools for elementary school pupils up to Class 5.

Stage IV

'Severe Plus'

Greater than 450

  • When the AQI crosses 450, four-wheelers registered outside Delhi, with the exception of electric cars, CNG vehicles, and BS-VI diesel vehicles, would be denied entry into the city.

Actions listed under GRAP to control air pollution

The Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) lists several measures under distinct air quality categories. Take a look at the following actions:

 

Air Quality Category

Actions

Severe or Emergency Category Air Quality

  • Trucks are not permitted to enter Delhi; only trucks carrying critical items are permitted.
  • Construction should be halted.
  • Implementation of an odd/even vehicle arrangement.
  • The Task Force decides on additional actions, such as school closures.

Severe Category Air Quality

  • Brick kilns, stone crushers, and hot mix machines are being closed.
  • Maximise electricity generation from natural gas while reducing output from coal.
  • Encourage the use of public transportation.
  • Water spraying on highways on a regular basis.

Very Poor Category Air Quality

  • The usage of diesel generating sets is prohibited.
  • Increase the parking price by three to four times.
  • Improve bus and metro service.
  • In the winter, avoid having open flames in your flat.
  • People with respiratory or cardiac disorders will be banned from moving outside.

Moderate to Poor Category Air Quality

  • There is a fine for burning waste.
  • Enforce pollution controls in brick kilns and enterprises.
  • Road cleaning and watering are automated.
  • Fireworks are prohibited.

Implementation of 8-point Action Plan

An 8-point action plan in accordance with GRAP Stage III contains actions to be implemented by various agencies and Pollution Control Boards of NCR and DPCC. These steps are as follows:

Points

Activities to be undertaken

1

Increase the frequency of mechanized/vacuum-based road sweeping.

2

Guarantee daily water sprinkling along with dust suppressants on roads and right of ways, especially hotspots and heavy traffic corridors, before peak traffic hours, and guarantee correct disposal of accumulated dust in designated sites/ landfills.

3

Increase the frequency of public transport. Implement differential pricing to encourage off-peak travel.

4

Activities to be carried out for construction and demolition tasks.

5

Stone crusher activities must be halted.

6

All mining and related activity in the NCR must be halted.

7

The NCR State Government/GNCTD will put tight limitations on the operation of BS III petrol and BS IV diesel LMVs (4 wheelers) in Delhi and the districts of Gurugram, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, and Gautam Budh Nagar.

8

State governments in the NCR and GNCTD may decide to discontinue physical lessons in schools for students up to Class V and instead offer classes online.

About Air Quality Index (AQI)

  • The Air Quality Index is a numerical scale used to express the air quality in a specific area at a given time. 
  • The AQI is commonly computed using the concentrations of several main air pollutants that have the potential to harm both human health and the environment.
  • The Air Quality Index (AQI) scale categorises air quality into six categories: 
    • Good (0-50), 
    • Satisfactory (51-100), 
    • Moderate (101-200), 
    • Poor (201-300), 
    • Very poor (301-400),
    • Severe (401-500). 
    • Severe plus (Above 500)

About Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM)

  • CAQM has taken the role of the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) to monitor and control air quality in the Delhi-NCR region.
  • Chairperson of CAQM: Former Secretary to the Government of India or Chief Secretary to a State government. 
  • Tenure of Chairperson:  Three years, or until he reaches the age of 70.
  • Members of CAQM include - 
    • 5 ex-officio members - chief secretaries or secretaries from Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh
    • 1 full-time member - Joint secretary,
    • 3 full-time members- Independent expert technical members
    • 1 technical member each from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO),
    • 3 members - NGOs who deal in air pollution
    • 1 representative of the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog).

About Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA)

  • EPCA was established in accordance with a 1998 Supreme Court judgment under the Environment (Protection) Act for the National Capital Region.
  • It has the authority to act unilaterally to regulate pollution, ensure compliance with fuel quality requirements, monitor, and coordinate action for planning and management.

FAQ

Answer GRAP stands for Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

Answer2. The Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) is implemented in Delhi-NCR area.

Answer3. Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) when the AQI exceeds "poor" levels.

Answer4. Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) is responsible for implementing GRAP in Delhi.

Answer5. The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) was the organisation replaced by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM).

Answer6. The Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) was established in 1998.
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