Stating that keeping in view the current air quality in Delhi-NCR, there is a need to exercise control on various sectors that significantly contribute to air pollution, the Commission for Air Quality Management in Delhi NCR, and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) has continued its ban on the construction and demolition (C&D) activities.
“Taking into consideration different studies that clearly show that C&D sites are a major contributor of air pollution across the NCR, the Commission if of the view that except for some exemptions, C&D activities should not be allowed in the NCR till further orders,” a release from the Environment, Forests and Climate Change Ministry said.
“Since the current air quality index is within the ‘Very Poor,’ it would not be advisable to allow the operations at all C&D sites. Based on air quality forecast and significant improvement in air quality, the decision will be reviewed further,” it said.
The CAQM, in furtherance to its earlier direction and its order of November 27 had directed with immediate effect that construction and demolition activities shall not be allowed in NCR, except for the following categories of projects – railway services/stations, Metro Rail Services including stations, airports and inter-state bus terminals (ISBTs), national security/defence-related activities/projects of national importance, hospitals/nursing homes/health care facilities, Linear public projects such as highways, roads, flyovers, over bridges, power transmission, pipelines etc, sanitation and public utility projects like sewage treatment plants, water pumping stations etc, and ancillary activities specific to and supplementing the above categories of projects.
“The exemptions are subject to strict compliance of the C&D Waste Management Rules, dust prevention/ control norms including compliance with the directions of the Commission issued from time to time in this regard,” the release added.
As per the report of IIT Kanpur (2016), ‘Comprehensive Study on Air Pollution and GreenHouse Gases in Delhi,’ construction and demolition activities in Delhi are frequent and “this source is the third most contributor to area source emission in PM10 and importantly it is a consistent source all through the year”.
As per ‘Source Apportionment of PM10 and PM2.5 of Delhi NCR for Identification of Major Sources’ study of August 2018 prepared by Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), PM10 contribution from dusty sources (road, construction and soil dust) was significant in winter season ranging from 23 to 31 per cent. Similarly, contribution of dusty sources PM2.5 in winter was 15 per cent in Delhi-city as well as NCR towns.
The Ministry release also reminded that as per the Supreme Court’s order of November 24, the states shall use the funds collected as labour cess for the welfare of constructions workers and provide them subsistence for the period during which construction activities are prohibited and pay wages notified under the minimum Wages Act for the respective categories of workers.