From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)
Mains level : Air quality issue in New Delhi
States in the National Capital Region were directed to be ready to implement actions under the ‘emergency’ category of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to control air pollution, said an official order.
Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)
- In 2014, when a study by the WHO found that Delhi was the most polluted city in the world, panic spread in the Centre and the state government.
- Approved by the Supreme Court in 2016, the plan was formulated after several meetings that the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) held with state government and experts.
- The result was a plan that institutionalized measures to be taken when air quality deteriorates.
- GRAP works only as an emergency measure.
How does it work?
- As such, the plan does not include action by various state governments to be taken throughout the year to tackle industrial, vehicular and combustion emissions.
- When the air quality shifts from poor to very poor, the measures listed under both sections have to be followed since the plan is incremental in nature.
- If air quality reaches the severe+ stage, GRAP talks about shutting down schools and implementing the odd-even road-space rationing scheme.
Measures taken under GRAP
1) Severe+ or Emergency
(PM 2.5 over 300 µg/cubic metre or PM10 over 500 µg/cu. m. for 48+ hours)
- Stop entry of trucks into Delhi (except essential commodities)
- Stop construction work
- Introduce odd/even scheme for private vehicles and minimise exemptions
- Task Force to decide any additional steps including shutting of schools
(PM 2.5 over 250 µg/cu. m. or PM10 over 430 µg/cu. m.)
- Close brick kilns, hot mix plants, stone crushers
- Maximise power generation from natural gas to reduce generation from coal
- Encourage public transport, with differential rates
- More frequent mechanized cleaning of road and sprinkling of water
3) Very Poor
(PM2.5 121-250 µg/cu. m. or PM10 351-430 µg/cu. m.)
- Stop use of diesel generator sets
- Enhance parking fee by 3-4 times
- Increase bus and Metro services
- Apartment owners to discourage burning fires in winter by providing electric heaters during winter
- Advisories to people with respiratory and cardiac conditions to restrict outdoor movement
4) Moderate to poor
(PM2.5 61-120 µg/cu. m. or PM10 101-350 µg/cu. m.)
- Heavy fines for garbage burning
- Close/enforce pollution control regulations in brick kilns and industries
- Mechanized sweeping on roads with heavy traffic and water sprinkling
- Strictly enforce a ban on firecrackers
Has GRAP helped?
- The biggest success of GRAP has been in fixing accountability and deadlines.
- For each action to be taken under a particular air quality category, executing agencies are clearly marked.
- In a territory like Delhi, where a multiplicity of authorities has been a long-standing impediment to effective governance, this step made a crucial difference.