A month-long anti-dust campaign to check compliance of pollution norms at construction sites was launched in Delhi on Thursday and 586 teams have been formed for their enforcement, Environment Minister Gopal Rai said. Addressing a press conference at his residence in Civil Lines, the minister said the campaign has been launched under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to combat pollution that has been implemented in the national capital.
“The anti-dust campaign has begun today in Delhi. As many as 586 teams of 12 government departments and agencies have been formed to check dust pollution at construction sites across the city. This campaign will continue for a month till November 6," Rai said. These teams will conduct surprise inspections at construction sites to check whether they are complying with the pollution norms.
According to the norms, construction sites larger than 5,000 sqm will have to deploy one anti-smog gun, those larger than 10,000 sqm should have two such guns and sites larger than 15,000 sqm will have to set up three anti-smog guns. Similarly, sites larger than 20,000 sqm will have to engage four anti-smog guns to combat dust pollution.
Rai said that out of 586 enforcement teams, 33 are from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, 165 from the Department of Revenue, 300 from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, 33 from the Delhi Development Authority, 14 from the Delhi Jal Board and six from the Public Works Department, among others. There are 14-point guidelines that every construction company or agency will have to follow at its sites in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Some of these norms are deploying anti-smog guns, covering construction sites with tin walls and tarpaulin sheets and not leaving construction material uncovered. Rai said the norms state that stone cutting during construction cannot be done in the open and a wet jetting machine should be used for it.
“The enforcement teams will check if these norms are being followed at construct sites. For any violation of anti-dust norms at constructions sites, fines ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 5 lakh will be imposed by the government as per National Green Tribunal (NGT) guidelines. If there is a serious violation, the government can order a construction site to shut down," he said. The minister also appealed to Delhiites to actively participate in the fight against pollution.
“I appeal to the people of Delhi to complain on the Green Delhi app if you come across someone or any construction site not following anti-dust pollution rules in your neighbourhood or anywhere across Delhi. You can complain on the Green Delhi app by clicking photographs. This will help us in monitoring and implementing the campaign better," he added. Authorities in the NCR have been asked to strictly implement measures under the first stage of the GRAP. The action plan includes penal and legal action against polluting industrial units.
Under Stage-I, the Centre’s Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) recommends stopping construction and demolition (C&D) activities at sites having a plot size equal to or more than 500 sqm that are not registered on the “web portal" of the respective states for remote monitoring of air pollution levels. Project proponents are required to ensure proper implementation of guidelines for dust mitigation, management of C&D waste and use of anti-smog guns at construction sites.