Noida: Amid severe air pollution, UP’s environment minister calls for ‘coordinated action’
Gautam Budh Nagar district magistrate Manish Kumar Verma on Tuesday suspended in-person classes for students from kindergarten to Class 9 for three days till November 10 in both Noida and Greater Noida
Uttar Pradesh environment and forest minister Arun Saxena said on Tuesday that a ”coordinated approach” to draw up a strategy to tackle pollution was needed to overcome the worsening the air quality in the National Capital Region (NCR), including the twin cities of Noida and Greater Noida.
Speaking at a press conference at the Okhla Bird Sanctuary in Noida’s Sector 95, he said, “The deteriorating air pollution in the region can be tackled only by having a coordinated approach and working out a strategy to combat the situation. It is a shared responsibility and opting for interdepartmental coordination is important to keep a check on the worsening air quality index (AQI).”
Both Noida and Greater Noida have been reeling under hazardous levels of air pollution levels since the past few days with the AQI crossing the 400-mark in the two cities, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)’s daily bulletin.
On Tuesday, Greater Noida emerged as the most polluted city of the country for the third time in seven days with an AQI of 457 (“severe”) with particulate matter (PM)10 and PM2.5 being the prominent pollutants. On Monday, the AQI in Greater Noida was 420, according to the CPCB daily bulletin.
Greater Noida had emerged as the most polluted city in the country for two consecutive days, on November 3 and November 4, with an AQI reading of 494 and 490 (“severe”), respectively.
Noida, on other hand, fared much better with an AQI of 355 (“very poor”) on Tuesday, a marginal improvement from Monday’s AQI of 384, with PM10 being the prominent pollutant.
Taking note of the deteriorating weather and pollution in the two cities, Gautam Budh Nagar district magistrate Manish Kumar Verma on Tuesday suspended in-person classes for students from kindergarten to Class 9 for three days till November 10 in both Noida and Greater Noida. The schools have been directed to conduct lessons online, said officials.
Minister Saxena said various departments, including with police, must chalk out plans and coordinate their efforts to ensure that there are no traffic jams, as emissions from idling vehicles were a major source of pollution.
“Implementation of the graded response action plan (Grap) on the ground must be strict and action should be initiated in case of any violation. No construction or demolition activity should be permitted and the authorities concerned must ensure that the violators face action,” Saxena said.
Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB)’s Noida regional officer Utsav Sharma said, “Instructions have been issued to intensify measures under Grap Stage 4 besides stages 1, 2 and 3, in order to curb the increasing air pollution levels. We have been undertaking various dust mitigation exercises and conducting enforcement activities in the city and these efforts will continue. The AQI has slightly improved in Noida on Tuesday to the “very poor” category from “severe” category.”
“Constant efforts are being taken to check air pollution in Greater Noida. Instructions have been given to curb the burning of municipal solid waste, and construction and demolition activities and teams have been deployed on the ground for enforcement of Grap rules,”said Greater Noida’s UPPCB regional officer Deo K Gupta.
District forest officer (DFO), Gautam Budh Nagar, PK Srivastava said, “Instructions pertaining to dust mitigation such as intensifying mechanical sweeping, using of anti-smog guns, water sprinkling on roads, etc, were issued during a meeting of officials of Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad, Shamli, Hapur, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Bulandshahr among other districts, to combat the air pollution in Delhi/NCR and adjoining districts.”