New Delhi, Oct 8 (PTI) Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Thursday inaugurated a 'green war room' at the Delhi Secretariat to monitor steps being taken to bring down pollution levels in the city this winter.
The minister said a 10-member team has been set up under senior scientists Mohan George and B L Chawla to monitor the levels of primary pollutants, measures taken to curb pollution and status of complaints received through the 'Green Delhi' mobile application.
Satellite data related to farm fires in the neighbouring states will also be analysed in the green war room.
There are multiple agencies working to deal with the problem of air pollution in Delhi. The 'green war room' has been set up to coordinate their efforts, Rai said.
The 'green war room' has three big screens – one is for monitoring primary pollutants such as PM2.5 and PM10, ozone, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and wind speed.
Pollution levels at 13 hotspots in the city and the steps taken to bring them down will be monitored on the second screen.
The 13 pollution hotpots are Okhla Phase-II, Dwarka, Ashok Vihar, Bawana, Narela, Mundka, Punjabi Bagh, Wazirpur, Rohini, Vivek Vihar, Anand Vihar, R K Puram and Jahangirpuri.
The third screen projects satellite data from NASA and ISRO related to crop residue burning, the minister told reporters.
According to data of the Punjab government, 169 farm fires were observed in the state on Wednesday. Overall, 1,692 “fire events” have occurred this season so far.
In Haryana, authorities have reported 526 farm fires this season so far.
The team will also keep an eye on the mechanised sweeping of roads and sprinkling of water to prevent dust pollution.
Rai said the control room will work towards ensuring stricter enforcement of guidelines to check dust pollution at construction and demolition sites, ready-mix concrete plants, and garbage burning.
'This anti-dust campaign will continue in mission mode till October 15 and strict action will be taken against the violators,' he said.
The minister added that daily reports on the number of complaints received and grievances redressed will be sent to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The national capital's air quality was recorded in the “poor” on Thursday and is likely to deteriorate further due to unfavourable meteorological conditions and spike in farm fires.
The city recorded an air quality index (AQI) of 208 at 3 pm, which falls in the poor category. Delhi's air quality had turned poor on Wednesday, the first time in since June 29, with the Central Pollution Control Board recording a 24-hour average AQI of 215. It was 178 on Tuesday.
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'.
High levels of air pollution in Delhi is a year-round problem, which can be attributed to unfavourable meteorological conditions, farm fires in neighbouring regions and local sources of pollution.
The Delhi government on Monday launched a massive anti-air pollution campaign.
Chief Minister Kejriwal said that he will review the situation daily.
The government will also start the spraying of “pusa bio-decomposer” solution in non-basmati rice fields in the national capital, starting October 11.
The solution, experts say, can turn the stubble into manure in 15 to 20 days and therefore can prevent stubble burning. PTI GVS ANB ANB