Delhi Current Affairs

Environment Ministry notifies Graded Response Action Plan to combat air pollution in NCR

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has notified the Graded Response Action Plan to combat air pollution in NCR Delhi region.

In this regard, MoEFCC amended laws and formally tasked a Supreme Court-appointed panel with implementing a graded action plan for pollution control.

Key Facts
  • Graded Response Action Plan defines the measures to taken based on air quality on the basis of PM 2.5 and PM 10 in the Air Pollution Gradesatmosphere.
  • Based on the air quality the grades have been classified as Emergency, Severe, Very Poor and Moderate poor. It will be enforced by Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA).
  • Under this plan eemergency measures will be automatically enforced in NCR if level of PM2.5 breaches 300 micrograms per cubic metre (µgm/m3) and PM10 levels stay above 500 (µgm/m3)for two consecutive days.
  • The plan recommends measures like odd-even car rationing scheme and ban on construction activities to combat air pollution.
  • During ‘very poor’ air quality, it recommends banning diesel generators and parking fee increased by three to four times.
  • It also lists a number of other measures such as closing brick kilns, stone crushers, hot mix plants and intensifying public transport services and increasing the frequency of mechanised cleaning and sprinkling of water on roads.

For enforcement of the action plan, the Union Government has assigned the task of implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan to the EPCA (Environment Pollution Control Authority) in pursuance of sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (29 of 1986).

Background

The Delhi specific comprehensive action plan was prepared by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and was submitted to the Supreme Court in December 2016. The court had accepted the plan and asked the Union Government to notify it.

Particulate Matter (PM): They are tiny particles of dust which can cause very serious respiratory disorders and even damage the lungs.

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NGT orders inspection of biomedical waste plants

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered inspection of plants which treat waste in the hospitals of the National Capital Delhi and ensure proper segregation, collection and disposal of such waste.

The waste plants will be inspected by joint inspection team of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC).

The NGT also directed the team to submit report about manner in which bio-medical waste was being handled by hospitals and situation prevailing in medical institutions adversely affecting human health and environment.

Earlier the tribunal had asked hospitals and clinics to ensure proper collection, segregation and disposal of bio-medical waste.

What is Bio-medical waste?
  • Bio-medical waste is any solid or liquid waste including its container and any intermediate product generated during the diagnosis, treatment or immunization of human beings or animals or research activities.
  • Biomedical waste poses hazard due to two principal reasons – toxicity and infectivity. Bio Medical waste consists of human anatomical waste like organs, tissues and body parts, waste sharps like hypodermic needles, syringes, scalpels and broken glass, discarded medicines and cytotoxic drugs, liquid waste from any of infected areas etc.
  • In 2016, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had issued new Bio-medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 for proper discarding of the bio-medical waste.
  • In India, total bio-medical waste generated is 484 tonnes per day (TPD) from 1,68,869 healthcare facilities (HCF), out of which 447 TPD is treated.

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