Can't Breathe, Can't Build: Delhi Chokes, Non-Essential Construction Halted

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Can’t Breathe, Can’t Build: Delhi Chokes, Non-Essential Construction Halted

| Updated: December 22, 2023 19:58

Non-Essential Construction Halted

Delhi’s notorious winter smog is back, prompting drastic measures from the central government. As the air quality index (AQI) soared into the “severe” category, exceeding 400, a ban on non-essential construction work has been imposed across Delhi-NCR to curb dust pollution.

The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) invoked Stage-III of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), a set of emergency measures triggered by worsening air quality. This means:

  • Hold your shovels: All non-essential construction activities, including stone crushing and mining, are now prohibited in Delhi and the surrounding National Capital Region.
  • Exemptions granted: Projects related to national security, healthcare, infrastructure, and essential services like sanitation and water supply are allowed to continue.
  • Clean the air, not your car: BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel four-wheelers are being restricted from plying on Delhi roads in an effort to reduce vehicular emissions.
  • Weather plays a villain: Low wind speeds and misty conditions are trapping pollutants, further exacerbating the problem.

Beyond construction, the Delhi government has also been urged to consider temporarily suspending outdoor physical education classes in schools due to the hazardous air quality.

This winter air pollution peak, fueled by a combination of vehicular emissions, agricultural burning, and unfavorable weather, is a grim reminder of the city’s ongoing struggle with air quality. While the construction ban provides a temporary reprieve, a long-term solution requires addressing all contributing factors, including promoting cleaner fuels, public transportation, and sustainable agricultural practices.

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