Desperate times: The Air Quality Management (CAQM) has been asked to invite proposals from the general public and experts for a permanent solution to Delhi-NCR's air pollution woes. Photo: Citizen Matters

Delhi-NCR air pollution: SC seeks ‘permanent solution’, Centre decriminalises stubble burning

The Supreme Court has asked the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) to invite proposals from the general public and experts for a permanent solution to air pollution woes in the Delhi-NCR region. The government also informed the Top Court that companies making life-saving equipment are allowed to use diesel generators and dairy and medical manufacturing are also allowed. Thermal power plants, which were shut down, continue to be so, but more will not be shut. All hospital constructions are permitted, but for the rest only interior works are allowed.

Meanwhile,  environment minister Bhupendra Yadav told Parliament that stubble burning has been decriminalised under the Air Quality Commission Act and the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have been allowed lands for decomposition. The minister also said that a proposal to use the crop residue as bio feel has also been sent to thermal power companies such as the National Thermal Power Corporation.

Air quality panel orders closure of errant industry over violating clean fuel norms

Air quality in the National Capital Region (NCR) remains in the “very poor” category. The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) last week ordered immediate closure of all industries that have not switched over to cleaner fuels in industrial areas despite their availability. Meanwhile, the Delhi government said the ban on entry of trucks, barring CNG and e-trucks and those carrying essential commodities, will continue until further orders. 

The CAQM said preventive measures are needed as a matter of extreme emergency. “Flying Squads of CAQM will launch special drives and inspect sites to ensure compliance,” it said. The state government will have to strictly enforce the commission’s directions and closely monitor the situation, CAQM said. 

Indoor air pollution in Delhi homes 20 times higher than WHO levels: Study

Air pollution in Delhi homes is 20 times more than the WHO levels, revealed a study by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC India). The levels of PM 2.5 (particulate matter of diameter less than 2.5 micrometres) was significantly higher than the levels reported by the nearest outdoor government monitors, the study said. 

The study said that while high-income households were 13 times more likely to own air purifiers as compared to low-income households, its impact on indoor air pollution was only around 10%, HT reported. The lead author of the study, Kennet Lee, said when you do not know about the pollution levels inside your homes, you do not worry about it, and hence you are less likely to take corrective actions. 

Bihar air quality deteriorates to “very poor” with fall in temperatures

Air quality in the state of Bihar turned to “very poor” with the fall in temperatures. According to Central Pollution Control Board, the average air quality index (AQI) of Patna based on six air monitoring stations stood at 313, which was categorised as ‘very poor’. Danapur, Samanpura and Rajbansi Nagar inched closed to ‘severe’ air pollution where AQI levels fluctuated between 350 to 380. Muradpur-based apparatus recorded ‘poor’ and Shikapur ‘moderate’ AQI.

Apart from Patna, which recorded ‘very poor’ AQI five times in 15 days this onth, Muzaffarpur also recorded ‘very poor’ air quality with an index value of 346. Gaya recorded ‘poor’ air quality with an index value of 233.

Maharashtra’s Parli coal plant to use biomass in one of its three units
Maharashtra’s power generation company (Mahagenco) will use “biomass briquettes bio coal”, which the industry calls “green coal”, for the boiler of one of the three units of the Parli thermal power plant having individual generation capacity of 250 MW. It will be the first in Maharashtra to use “green coal” on a trial basis. The fuel will have crop residue as the base material. The use of bio fuel is expected to provide supplementary income to the farmers. The industry also plans to use bamboo as raw material to make “green coal”. TOI has quoted a local leader saying a single farmer can cultivate around 50 tonnes of bamboo per acre and earn Rs5,000 per tonne.

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