40 Flying Squads to Monitor Pollution Control Compliance in Delhi and Adjoining States
The Commission on Air Quality Management has developed a strategy to reduce stubble burning
December 10, 2021
A total of 40 flying squads have been set up by the Enforcement Task Force (ETF) of the Commission on Air Quality Management (CAQM) in the national capital region, according to the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change. The squads will check compliance with various directions issued by CAQM towards reducing air pollution, particularly for measures to be taken for the critical winter months.
While general compliance levels are satisfactory, serious violations are still reported across sectors. There have been 38, 48, 104, and 38 serious violations reported from Delhi and NCR Districts of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan, respectively. The violations majorly occur in industrial units, construction, and demolition project sites. They also relate to the use of diesel generator (DG) sets in industrial installations, commercial complexes, and residences.
After screening the cases of non-compliances, the ETF decides on immediate closure of such units to prevent any further deterioration of air quality.
Out of 1,215 inspections carried out until December 7, 2021, gross violations of norms have been reported from 228 units or sites across various sectors. Of these, closures have been identified for 128 industries, 58 construction or demolition project sites, and 42 commercial or residential complexes operating on diesel generators.
In all, 111 units have been closed down until further orders.
CAQM has also developed a framework and action plan for preventing and controlling stubble burning, a significant contributor to pollution in Delhi and adjoining regions. It plans to procure crop residue management machines and promote high yield and short-duration paddy varieties. It is also planning to use bio-decomposers to reduce crop residue.
The framework also suggests using paddy straw in biomass power projects and co-firing in thermal power plants. Paddy straws can also be used as feedstock for 2G ethanol plants and compressed biogas plants.
In March this year, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways greenlighted the use of E20 – a blend of 20% ethanol and 80% gasoline – as an automotive fuel. Financial assistance was announced set up distilleries to produce 1st Generation (1G) ethanol from feedstocks such as cereals (rice, wheat, barley, corn, and sorghum), sugarcane, and sugar beet. Assistance will also be provided to convert molasses-based distilleries to dual feedstock.
To support the governments of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi, a central sector program on ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and NCT of Delhi’ is being implemented.
From 2018-19 to 2021-22, ₹24.4 billion (~$322.26 million) has been released for these states. The program has also supplied more than 195,000 CRM machines to these CHCs and farmers of these four states.
Delhi had recorded PM2.5 levels of 162 and PM10 levels of 297 on November 24. The levels of particulate matter in the air were ‘very unhealthy.’
In 2019, India launched a program to battle the increasing level of pollutants in the air. The National Clean Air Program (NCAP) is a time-bound national-level strategy for pan-India implementation to tackle the rising air pollution problem across the country. City-specific action plans are formulated for 102 non-attainment cities identified for implementing mitigation actions under the new program.
Image credit: by CIAT, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons