Air quality turns severe, 44 teams to check pollution in Delhi from Nov 1

About 44 joint teams from various agencies will be deployed from Thursday to check air pollution in the national capital, the Delhi government said, as the air quality in the city nosedived to 'severe' category.

The teams have been mandated to take strict punitive action against violators responsible for sources of air pollution, it said in a statement.

The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) was 401, falling in the 'severe' category, the highest this season, Central Pollution Control Board officials said.

The Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) recorded the AQI at 410.

An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'.

Eighteen areas of Delhi recorded 'severe' air quality with the highest AQI at 4 PM recorded at Anand Vihar at 467, according to data by the CPCB.

Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Noida recorded 'severe' air pollution, crossing the AQI of 400. Greater Noida's air is also on the brink of turning severe, according to the data.

Delhi Environment minister Imran Hussain on Tuesday announced that 44 joint teams comprising of SDMs/Tehsildars, officers of Municipal Corporations concerned, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC)/Environment Department and of Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEF&CC) and CPCB will be deputed from Thursday to curb local sources of air pollution.

Hussain said this urgent campaign is being jointly organised by the Delhi government and the central government, which will appeal to the citizens to strictly avoid all such activities which lead to air pollution.

The teams will be mandated to take action on the following offences actions, including garbage burning, stubble burning, vehicular emission.

"Strict punitive action against the violators of dust control measures and those found indulging in burning waste material or plastic or garbage etc in open will be taken. The joint campaign for clean air has been initially scheduled for a week," the statement said.

The joint campaign will be flagged-off at the Indira Paryavaran Bhawan, Jor Bagh, Aliganj, New Delhi on November 1.

Hussain said the Delhi government is taking all the required necessary steps for ensuring that the air quality index in Delhi remains under control especially during the festive season.

All the three municipal corporations, Public Works Department, New Delhi Municipal Council, Delhi Development Authority, Delhi Cantonment Board, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation have been directed to ensure that the construction activities undertaken by them and supervised by them should not lead to emission of dust from construction sites.

They should ensure that water is regularly sprinkled on the building material, it should also remain covered and the construction site should be effectively covered for preventing dust emanating from these sites.

Hussain also asked these agencies to increase the frequency of mechanical sweeping and sprinkling of water on the roads so that dust and fugitive emissions do not remain suspended in the air.

The minister is himself taking regular rounds and conducting surprise inspections in various parts of Delhi everyday for checking the implementation of dust control norms and instances of burning in the open.

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