Air pollution in Noida, Ghaziabad: No relief from bad air likely as farm fires rise; drive to seize overage vehicles starts

  • | Friday | 27th October, 2023

NOIDA: The air quality in Noida improved to moderate as the AQI dropped to 191 on Thursday from 212 on Wednesday. However, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad and Delhi continued to experience poor air quality. The AQI dropped to 260 on Thursday from 270 on Wednesday in Greater Noida, but it rose from 203 to 235 in Ghaziabad and from 243 to 256 in Delhi.Track the pollution level in your cityWith incidents of stubble burning on the rise in neighbouring states, the air quality early warning system expects the air quality to dip further on Saturday."The air quality is likely to be in the poor category from October 26 to 27. It may be in the very poor category from October 28 to 29. The outlook for subsequent 6 days: The air quality is likely to remain in very poor or poor category," it stated.According to the remote sensing data, incidents of stubble burning in neighbouring Punjab are on the rise over the past few days. On Thursday, 589 incidents of stubble burning were recorded in Punjab, as against 398 incidents a day earlier. So far, 3,293 incidents have taken place in Punjab since September 15. In 2022, 7,036 incidents were recorded till October 26.In neighbouring Haryana, 67 farm fire cases were recorded compared with 58 a day earlier. Total 938 stubble burning incidents have taken place this season.In NCR, the transport department launched an enforcement drive on Thursday to seize end-of-life vehicles (ELVs), i.e., diesel and petrol vehicles older than 10 and 15 years, respectively. Ghaziabad has 90,000 of them and Noida 1.5 lakh, accounting for a total of 2.4 lakh ELVs in NCR to be scrapped or sent out. KD Singh, assistant regional transport officer (ARTO), enforcement, Ghaziabad, said the transport department has been cracking down on ELVs throughout the year. "Now, we will expedite the enforcement and seize old vehicles as part of the GRAP (graded response action plan) implementation," Singh added.For diesel ELVs, the transport department issued 2,330 challans, seized 1,751, issued 16,247 NOCs and cancelled 14,370 RCs across four districts - Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar, Bulandshahr and Hapur - which fall under the Ghaziabad RTO. For petrol ELVs, it issued 430 challans, seized 431 vehicles, issued 7,132 NOCs and cancelled 1.2 lakh RCs across the four districts. "The vehicle owners concerned should surrender their registration certificates (RCs) and get their vehicles scrapped. They can also get no objection certificates (NOCs) from the transport department and take their vehicles out of NCR," said Singh. In 2015, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned ELVs from running in NCR to check air pollution. Udit Narayan Pandey, ARTO, enforcement, Ghaziabad, said, "The GRAP stage 2 is in force. On Thursday, we seized three diesel vehicles and five petrol vehicles."In Delhi, environment minister Gopal Rai launched the "Red light on, gaadi off" campaign at ITO on Thursday, where he urged motorists to switch off the vehicle when idling at a red light to minimise vehicular pollution.Despite experts being unsure about the benefits from such a campaign, Rai claimed, "A Petroleum Conservation Research Association survey at 100 intersections found that vehicular pollution can be reduced by 15-20% if engines are switched off at red lights. When someone steps out in a vehicle, they typically run into 8-10 traffic intersections. If the duration of the red light at each is two minutes and the engine is not switched off, the vehicle burns fuel unnecessarily for 25-30 minutes."On Thursday, very few motorists at ITO appeared keen on the idea. Even Delhi Pollution Control Committee, in an earlier RTI reply, said that no scientific study had been conducted to establish that such road etiquette led to reduction in the pollution. According to experts at Central Road Research Institute, the benefit of such a campaign would only accrue over the long term if enforced with consistency."There must be consistency in this campaign, only then will it work," opined Dr S Velmurgan, chief scientist, CRRI. "We determined that the success of the campaign depended on it being enforced on a constant basis, perhaps for several months. Seasonal or short-period campaigns wont increase acceptance of switching off at stops."

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