Exceptions only: During the ‘severe +’ category entry of trucks will be halted and Delhi-registered diesel-operated medium and heavy goods vehicles will not be allowed to ply, except for essential activities. Photo: Sumita Roy Dutta_WikimediaCommons

Now GRAP restrictions to be imposed 3 days ahead of bad air forecast

This year, measures under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) for air pollution in Delhi will be imposed three days ahead of the AQI reaching a particular level. A ‘poor’ air quality index (AQI) forecast (from 201 to 300) will halt construction on more than 500 sqm plots where the site has not been registered on the web portal for monitoring of dust mitigation measures, enforcing guidelines on anti-smog guns and water sprinkling on roads, and ensure that diesel generator sets “are not used as a regular source of power supply”, reported The Indian Express. 

When the AQI is forecast to be ‘very poor’ (301 to 400), restrictions will include stopping the use of diesel generator sets except for emergency services, not allowing coal or firewood in tandoors at restaurants and enhancing parking fees to discourage private transport. 

Three days ahead of the AQI reaching the ‘severe’ category, a ban on construction and demolition activities will kick in. Restrictions on industries that are not running on PNG will also be imposed when the AQI is likely to turn ‘severe’. State governments may also impose restrictions on BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel four-wheelers. During the ‘severe +’ category entry of trucks, except for essentials, will be halted and Delhi-registered diesel-operated medium and heavy goods vehicles will not be allowed to ply, except for essential activities. State governments may also then consider measures like closure of schools.

Fly-ash-related shutdowns cause loss of over 17 billion units of power in the past three years: Study 

A recent study revealed that fly ash, one of the major pollutants from coal power plants, caused a loss of 17.6 billion units of power generation in India. The study conducted by Sehr Raheja, Ashish Sinha of Manthan Adhyayan Kendra states that between 2019 and 2022, the closure of thermal power plants due to ash-related issues in country has led to a loss in power generation of 17,625.46 MU (calculated at 80% PLF).

According to the study, 17 units were shut for over a month at a time during these years, some of them being closed repeatedly, and five units were shut for more than 100 days at a time. The analysis is based on data from the Central Electricity Authority’s Daily Generation Reports (DGR).

Air pollution increasing the prevalence of anaemia among women of reproductive age

Meeting clean air targets could help reduce the anaemia burden among women of reproductive age in India, a new study found.

Mongabay reported that scientists led by the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, used multiple datasets, including the National Family Health Survey and satellite data to link pollution and health. Their findings show that for every 10 microgram/metre cube increase in ambient PM2.5 exposure, the average anaemia prevalence among women increases by 7.23%.

According to the study, anaemia among women of reproductive age in India was 53.1%—one of the highest percentages globally, with urban India having slightly fewer cases compared to rural. Mongabay reported that anaemia prevalence among women of reproductive age (15 to 49 years of age) will fall from 53% to 39.5% if India’s clean air targets are met, taking 186 districts below the country’s target of anaemia reduction to 35% for women of reproductive age.

Particulate matter found in vital organs of foetuses

Toxic particles breathed in by pregnant women are passed on to their foetuses, a new study found. Particles linked to air pollution have now been found in the lungs, livers and brains of unborn babies. Researchers found thousands of black carbon particles in each cubic millimetre of lung, liver and brain tissue, which were passed on to the foetus through the bloodstream and placenta, after being breathed in.

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