Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Saturday urged the Centre to permit only CNG, electric, and BS VI-compliant vehicles in Delhi-NCR to combat vehicular pollution.
In a letter to Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav, he expressed concerns about the expected deterioration in air quality in the coming days due to Diwali and stubble burning in neighbouring states.
”Therefore, an emergency meeting should be convened with NCR states to address the issue,” he said.
Starting from November 1, only electric, CNG, and BS VI-compliant diesel buses are allowed to operate between Delhi and the cities and towns in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan that fall within the National Capital Region (NCR), according to directions issued by the Centre’s Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM).
Rai suggested that the Centre should also implement a ban on all vehicles non-compliant with BS VI norms in the entire National Capital Region.
Various emission inventory and source apportionment studies conducted for Delhi in recent years have indicated that on-road vehicular exhaust emissions contribute to 9 to 38 per cent of PM2.5 emissions in the capital.
Due to relatively better wind speed, pollution levels in Delhi and the surrounding areas slightly decreased over night, but the concentration of harmful PM2.5 particles remained above the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended healthy limit.
A thick, toxic haze has persisted over the city for the fifth consecutive day on Saturday, causing concern among doctors regarding the increasing respiratory and eye problems in children and the elderly.
Air quality in Delhi-NCR has deteriorated over the past week due to a gradual drop in temperatures, calm winds that trap pollution, and an increase in post-harvest paddy straw burning across Punjab and Haryana.
Data from the Central Pollution Control Board reveals that Delhi’s Air Quality Index rose by over 200 points between October 27 and November 3, resulting in its classification as ‘severe plus’ (above 450) on Friday.