Stage 1 of Graded Response Action Plan GRAP

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    • Recently, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) said that measures under ‘Stage-1’ of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) will be enforced in the NCR with immediate effect. 
      • The order came after Delhi’s AQI deteriorated to be in the ‘poor’ category.

    What is the Graded Response Action Plan?

    • GRAP is a set of emergency measures that kick in to prevent further deterioration of air quality once it reaches a certain threshold. 
      • Stage 1 of GRAP is activated when the AQI is in the ‘poor’ category (201 to 300).
    • The second, third and fourth stages will be activated when AQI reaches the ‘very poor’ category (301 to 400), ‘severe’ category (401 to 450) and ‘severe +’ category (above 450) respectively.

    Who will implement and enforce the GRAP?

    • The CAQM has constituted a sub-committee for the operationalization of the GRAP.
    • This body includes officials from the CAQM, member secretaries of pollution control boards of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, the Central Pollution Control Board, a scientist from the IMD and one from the IITM and Health Advisor.
    • The sub-committee is required to meet frequently to issue orders to invoke the GRAP.
    • The orders and directions of the CAQM will prevail in case of any conflict between directions issued by the State governments and the CAQM. 

    How is the GRAP different this year?

    • Task of implementing the GRAP fell on the now dissolved Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority for the NCR. 
      • From 2021 onwards, the GRAP is being implemented by the CAQM.
    • In the version of the GRAP that was notified in 2017, measures kicked in after pollution concentrations reached a certain level. 
      • This year, measures are pre-emptive and will kick in based on forecasts in an attempt to prevent the AQI from deteriorating further.
    • The older version of the GRAP was enforced based only on the concentration of PM2.5 and PM10. 
      • This year, GRAP is being enforced based on the AQI, which takes other pollutants also into account, such as ozone, sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen.
    • For the first time, it specifies that State governments in the NCR may impose restrictions on BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel four wheelers under Stage-3, or when the AQI is likely to reach the ‘severe’ category.
      • In the ‘severe +’ category, GRAP imposes a ban on plying of four-wheelers in Delhi and NCR districts bordering Delhi, except for BS-VI vehicles and those plying for emergency or essential services.
    • Restrictions on some construction activities will also set in earlier in the revised GRAP. 
      • A ban on construction activities (except for those involving railways, projects of national security, hospitals, metro services, and linear public projects like highways, roads) will be imposed under the ‘severe’ category. 
      • In the previous plan, the construction ban was implemented only in the ‘severe +’ category.

    Source: IE