New Delhi: CAQM Lifts Stage-IV Anti-Pollution Measures as Delhi's Air Quality Improves
Commission for Air Quality Management eases restrictions in Delhi after AQI improves. GRAP Stage-IV lifted, but vigilance remains.
NEW DELHI: In a significant development, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has decided to lift the Stage-IV anti-pollution measures in Delhi and its adjoining areas. This decision comes as a response to the recent improvement in air quality, shifting from the 'severe' to the 'very poor' category.
The decision to withdraw the stringent measures was made after a thorough review of the Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital, which demonstrated stability and did not further deteriorate in the past few days. However, it's important to note that restrictions under Stages-I to Stage-III of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) will remain in effect due to the current 'very poor' air quality in the Delhi-NCR region.
Stage-IV restrictions, initially enforced on November 5, included measures such as the prohibition of polluting vehicles and construction activities in the city. These actions were implemented when the AQI reached the 'Severe+' category (AQI >450).
The Sub-Committee responsible for invoking actions under the GRAP conducted a meeting and observed that Delhi's current AQI level is approximately 322 (considered 'Very Poor'). Importantly, this is notably lower, around 128 AQI points below the threshold for initiating Stage-IV actions.
The central pollution watchdog acknowledged the ongoing preventive, mitigative, and restrictive actions under all GRAP stages, up to and including Stage-IV. The committee expressed confidence in the sustainability of the observed improvement in AQI.
Notably, the forecast from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras indicates no further significant degradation in air quality. RK Agrawal, Convenor of the Sub-Committee on GRAP, highlighted this positive outlook.
The CAQM, while acknowledging the positive developments, also recognized that Stage-IV restrictions are disruptive and affect numerous stakeholders and the public at large. Monitoring agencies in the city are actively overseeing the situation and will make informed decisions based on ongoing air quality assessments. The decision to lift Stage-IV reflects a balanced approach, considering the evolving dynamics of air quality in the region.