[op-ed snap] Choking on air

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the EPCA

Mains level: Suggestions given by the EPCA


News

Context

  1. The article talks about the severe pollution level in Delhi and the suggestions given by the EPCA

“severe” Air Quality Index (AQI)

  1. With a ban against firecrackers and a graded response action plan (GRAP) in place, Delhi’s authorities seemed better equipped than in the past two years
  2. But these hopes have been belied
  3. The post-Diwali smog never receded
  4. And the city registered “severe” on the AQI
  5. According to AQI website, “Everyone may experience serious health effects”

Suggestions by the Environment Pollution and Prevention Control Authority (EPCA)

  1. It is a SC-mandated body
  2. The EPCS also enforced GRAP two days before Diwali
  3. It has asked the Delhi government to put more emergency measures in place
  4. It has suggested that parking fees be quadrupled
  5. It also asked Delhi Metro to lower fares during non-peak hours for at least 10 days and introduce more coaches
  6. There are problems with this course of action
  7. The GRAP envisages progressively tougher action as pollution levels rise, without waiting for an emergency to impose strict measures

Passive attitude of the Delhi Government

  1. In the past two years, the government has waited for pollution to assume emergency proportions before reacting
  2. And then done nothing more than respond to courts or court-mandated bodies like the EPCA
  3. The Delhi government implemented the odd-even policy last year only after the Delhi High Court asked it to submit a time-bound plan

The way forward

  1. The EPCA, though, wants to enforce the odd-even policy if the city’s pollution levels aggravate
  2. Its other proposals will require at least 16 authorities to work together
Air Pollution
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