Delhi's air quality remains in severe category, EPCA lifts ban on heavy vehicles entry

File photo. Photograph:( Others )

PTI New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 14, 2018, 07.10 AM (IST)

The Supreme Court-appointed EPCA lifted the ban on the entry of heavy vehicles into Delhi on Tuesday even as a thick haze engulfed the city with the air quality remaining in the "severe" category with the authorities saying that rains in some parts of the national capital has made the air heavier and increased pollution.

As the overall air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 411, which falls in the "severe" category, according to data by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) said heavy vehicles would now ply in the city on normal timings between 11 pm and 6 am.

According to official data, 21 areas in Delhi recorded 'severe' air quality and it was 'very poor' in 12 areas. 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".

Light rains in some parts of the national capital led a decline in temperatures. The maximum temperature was recorded at 29.4 degrees Celsius, a notch above normal, while the minimum temperature settled at 14.2 degrees Celsius, also a notch above the season's average, a meteorological department official said.

"After isolated showers in parts of Delhi, lots of moisture is introduced in the air to make it heavy and increased the holding capacity which increased the pollution level," the SAFAR said in a report.

It also said stubble burning incidents have reduced significantly and now the winds are not blowing from these areas so its impact on Delhi's air quality would be marginal.

A new study said that about 89 per cent of people in Delhi feel sickness or discomfort due to bad air quality as most of the people believe motor vehicles and tree cutting to be major sources of pollution.

EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal said the restriction imposed by it on heavy vehicles had been lifted.

On Monday, the EPCA allowed entry of only those vehicles into the city which were stranded for the previous four days at Delhi borders, anticipating the situation getting out of hand with the owners of over a 1,000 trucks getting "restive".

The EPCA had asserted on Monday that these stranded trucks would be exempt from paying toll or Environment Compensation Charge (ECC) from 11 pm on November 12 to 7 am on November 13. The body had said by relaxing the payment of toll-ECC, the trucks can move without any halt and this will reduce congestion and thereby pollution.

Over 2,200 vehicles were ordered to turn back from Delhi's borders during restriction on entry of heavy vehicles in the national capital from November 8 to November 12 in the wake of high pollution levels in the city, a senior traffic police official said.

Story highlights

Light rains in some parts of the national capital led a decline in temperatures. The maximum temperature was recorded at 29.4 degrees Celsius, a notch above normal, while the minimum temperature settled at 14.2 degrees Celsius, also a notch above the season's average, a meteorological department official said.