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Delhi Air Quality : Electric Bus Shuttle Service for Government Employees to Tackle Air Pollution

Del­hi Air Qual­i­ty: An analy­sis con­duct­ed by the Del­hi Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Com­mit­tee high­lights a recur­ring pat­tern of height­ened pol­lu­tion in the cap­i­tal. This surge in pol­lu­tion typ­i­cal­ly occurs from Novem­ber 1 to Novem­ber 15, coin­cid­ing with an increase in stub­ble burn­ing inci­dents in neigh­bor­ing states, Pun­jab and Haryana. The annu­al occur­rence of stub­ble burn­ing con­tributes sig­nif­i­cant­ly towards the dete­ri­o­ra­tion of Del­hi’s air qual­i­ty dur­ing this peri­od.

Govt Introduces Electric Bus Shuttle Service Amidst Severe Air Quality Concerns

The Del­hi gov­ern­ment has ini­ti­at­ed a unique elec­tric bus shut­tle ser­vice to address the severe air pol­lu­tion affect­ing the region. This ser­vice is specif­i­cal­ly designed for state and cen­tral gov­ern­ment employ­ees. Shut­tle routes will con­nect Kid­wai Nagar and RK Puram to the Cen­tral Sec­re­tari­at for cen­tral gov­ern­ment per­son­nel. Sim­i­lar­ly, routes have been estab­lished from Gula­bi Bagh to the Del­hi Sec­re­tari­at to cater to Del­hi gov­ern­ment employ­ees. These mea­sures come in response to the crit­i­cal air qual­i­ty lev­els expe­ri­enced in Del­hi, which have prompt­ed a series of imme­di­ate actions.

Immediate Actions in Response to Deteriorating Delhi Air Quality

  1. Non-Essen­tial Con­struc­tion Ban: With air qual­i­ty near­ing emer­gency lev­els, the gov­ern­ment has swift­ly imposed a ban on non-essen­tial con­struc­tion work, stone crush­ing, and min­ing activ­i­ties. This aims to mit­i­gate the release of pol­lu­tants into the atmos­phere.
  2. School Clo­sures: To pro­tect the health of chil­dren, all gov­ern­ment and pri­vate pri­ma­ry schools in Del­hi will remain closed for the next two days. The deci­sion was made by Del­hi Chief Min­is­ter Arvind Kejri­w­al.
  3. Vehic­u­lar Restric­tions: Restric­tions have been placed on the use of BS III petrol and BS IV diesel four-wheel­ers in var­i­ous regions, includ­ing Del­hi, Guru­gram, Farid­abad, Ghazi­abad, and Gau­tam Budh Nagar.

Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) Activation

The gov­ern­men­t’s response aligns with Stage III of the Grad­ed Response Action Plan (GRAP), an air pol­lu­tion con­trol strat­e­gy imple­ment­ed dur­ing the win­ter sea­son. The plan cat­e­go­rizes actions into four stages based on air qual­i­ty index (AQI) lev­els:

  1. Stage I: Poor (AQI 201–300)
  2. Stage II: Very Poor (AQI 301–400)
  3. Stage III: Severe (AQI 401–450)
  4. Stage IV: Severe Plus (AQI above 450)

Smoke from Stubble Burning and Health Concerns

An analy­sis revealed that smoke from stub­ble burn­ing account­ed for a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the PM2.5 pol­lu­tion in Del­hi, con­tribut­ing to dete­ri­o­rat­ing air qual­i­ty. Health experts have expressed alarm over the increas­ing preva­lence of res­pi­ra­to­ry issues, par­tic­u­lar­ly among chil­dren and the elder­ly. Air pol­lu­tion in India has result­ed in a sub­stan­tial num­ber of deaths and eco­nom­ic loss­es.

Challenges and Efforts

One of the chal­lenges con­tribut­ing to the pol­lu­tion cri­sis is the lack of post-mon­soon rain­fall, which typ­i­cal­ly helps dis­perse pol­lu­tants. The Del­hi gov­ern­ment has intro­duced var­i­ous mea­sures to com­bat air pol­lu­tion, focus­ing on address­ing dust pol­lu­tion, vehic­u­lar emis­sions, and open garbage burn­ing. Addi­tion­al­ly, com­pre­hen­sive bans on fire­crack­er use and ini­tia­tives to pro­mote pub­lic trans­port have been imple­ment­ed.

Conclusion

The dete­ri­o­rat­ing air qual­i­ty in Del­hi has prompt­ed a series of swift actions by the gov­ern­ment to safe­guard pub­lic health and mit­i­gate air pol­lu­tion, with a spe­cif­ic focus on curb­ing stub­ble burn­ing, con­trol­ling vehic­u­lar emis­sions, and pro­mot­ing sus­tain­able trans­porta­tion solu­tions.

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