The Lt Governor, Shri VK Saxena yesterday chaired a meeting to review issues pertaining to Air pollution in the City and preparedness
Saturday, July 30, 2022
The Lt Governor, Shri VK Saxena yesterday chaired a meeting to review issues pertaining to Air pollution in the City and preparedness of the various stakeholder agencies and departments thereto. Those present included, Shri MM Kutty, Chairman, Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), set up by the Govt. of India, Chief Secretary, ACS (Environment), Chairman, NDMC, Spl. Officer, MCD, VC-DDA, Pr. Secretaries of PWD and Transport, Spl. CPs (Traffic) and Commissioner, MCD apart from others.
Shri Saxena, who has had the issue of Air pollution and its effective long term solution, amongst the top of his agenda appreciated the "Proactive Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)" put in place by the CAQM, instead of the earlier existing reactive measures. He instructed all implementing Agencies and Departments like DPCC, Transport, PWD and Civic Bodies to work effectively in ensuring that all measures to tackle air pollution are taken in a time bound manner and asked them to work in complete coordination.
Emphasizing that the air pollution control measures with regards to Vehicular Emission, Road and C&D Dust management, Burning of solid municipal and agro waste and industrial emissions needed to be immediately taken, the LG issued specific instructions to this effect. He also underlined the importance of simultaneously and scientifically enhancing the forest and green cover in the City by undertaking mass plantation of flowering and fruit bearing varities.
Pointing that 26% of Air pollution on account of PM 2.5 resulted from dust generated from roads, pavements, footpaths, central verges and C&D activities alone, the LG underlined that this needed to be and could be addressed immediately. With the total length of dust generating, non paved and open road sides amounting to 165 KM and 59.7 KM for PWD and MCD respectively, , Shri Saxena, asked for concerted time bound actions to be taken by agencies concerned, forthwith in this regard.
Addressing each issue specifically, the LG issued the following directions;
1. Even as the anti smog guns for C&D and road dust management as per CAQM's guidelines were to be put in place, the LG asked officers to explore the possibility of installing rotating mist sprinklers on high rise buildings that could spray over a larger area.
2. The repair, covering and carpeting of roads, pavements, footpaths and central verges by different road owning agencies was instructed to be started immediately and completed within a fixed time line. In this regard, the LG directed officials to discard the self defeating prevelant practice of laying inter locking blocks on reinforced cement concrete (RCC) and go for securing inter locking blocks by compaction, that would allow water to seep down and reduce cost of construction. On earthen pavements to be paved, he instructed for suitable high density soil holding grass and shrub varities to be used.
3. With regards to the cleaning of roads owned by different agencies by MCD by deploying Mechanical Sweeping Machines, the LG directed the Environment Deptt to immediately provide sufficient funds, as undertaken in the Hon'ble Courts, to MCD so that the minimum required number of Machines could be purchased and put to use. He also directed that tankers be used to spray recycled water to settle dust, in the interim.
4. The LG underlined that the sweeping exercise should not be undertaken in a piece meal manner and instructed that such exercises be undertaken on roads, lanes and by lanes in any pre identified area simultaneously, with a machine for sweeping and collecting dust, a water tanker for spraying and settling dust and horticulture machine and staff to prune over growth, working together. He also asked for fixed seperate color codes to be adopted by different road owning agencies so as to make the ownership and responsibility related to it, easily identifiable.
5.While asking officials to continue with the policy of encouraging e-vehicles, the LG directed that the charging stations for such vehicles not be allowed to come up on foot paths and pavements, lest it ends up defeating the entire purpose by creating traffic snarls and crowding.
6. The LG reiterated the importance of last mile connectivity and stressed that the utility of public transport as a means to reduce emissions by individual 2 wheelers and cars, could only be achieved if people were to be able to access public transport through sufficient linkages in their close vicinity. In this regard, he instructed DTC to go for acquisition of smaller buses that could reach commuters to their colonies.
7. Emphasizing that people will have to be brought on board for any of these measures to succeed, the LG directed officials to go for a mega awareness generation campaign aimed at People's participation in the war against air pollution.