Expert group formed to finalise air quality forecast model in terms of AQI, SC told

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The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) has told the Supreme Court that an “expert group” has been constituted to finalise an air quality forecast model in terms of the air quality index (AQI).

In an affidavit, the CAQM Director said: “The Expert Group, constituted by the commission, having domain knowledge and data in the field of meteorological conditions impacting air quality, statistical modelling besides historical scientific data on air quality related parameters in Delhi-NCR along with the IITM and the IMD are in the process of finalising an air quality forecast model in terms of the Air Quality Index (AQI), using WRF-Chem Forecasting model.”

In an earlier hearing, a bench comprising Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant had asked the Centre to develop future models on air pollution, and then devise steps in advance to act on factors leading to pollution.

The affidavit said: “The model takes into account local/nonlocal, natural and anthropogenic sources from emission inventories over Delhi-NCR developed by TERI and MoES. The air quality forecast model is coupled with all the meteorological parameters such as wind speed & direction, humidity etc at surface and at different vertical levels.”

Elaborating on steps taken to curb air pollution, the commission said a total of 1,534 sites were inspected by the flying squad and a total of 228 sites were issued notices of closure by the enforcement task force (ETF).

“After meticulously reviewing all the sites in question physically, it has been confirmed by the flying squads that as on December 9, a total of 111 industry/factory/ sites etc stand closed until further notice,” it added in the affidavit.

The commission added regarding vehicular pollution, the entry of trucks in Delhi except those carrying essential commodities, continues to remain banned.

“A total number of 7,673 trucks carrying non-essential items have been stopped at all entry points at Delhi and a total of 22,873 number of trucks carrying essential items have been permitted to enter Delhi,” it added.

The commission also provided details on actions taken on restricting the plying of diesel and petrol vehicles of more than 10 and 15 years and their impounding in NCR.

The affidavit added: “Regarding the functioning of thermal power plants, the Ministry of Power was requested by the Commission to explore and examine the possibility of shutting down operations of some more thermal power plants in addition to plants, which are already closed, other than the six (out of a total of 11 thermal power plants located within 300 kms radius of Delhi) which have already been directed to be inoperative at least till December 15.”

On Friday, the Supreme Court observed that the air quality in the capital has improved, as it allowed the CAQM to take a decision on relaxing the ban on construction activities and restrictions on industrial activities, after examining representation of various bodies.

A special bench of the Supreme Court is hearing a plea by a 17-year-old Delhi student in connection with severe air pollution in the capital.

20211210-210043

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