What is GRAP? Stage 2 imposed in Delhi-NCR to reduce AQI's further deterioration; Here's what is prohibited under it

GRAP or Graded Response Action Plan is a set of emergency measures that are imposed to prevent the deterioration of air quality once it reaches a certain level.

GRAP, What is GRAP, All About GRAP, GRAP AQI, GRAP Stages Explained, GRAP Restrictions, India News, India News Today, India News Live, India Live Updates- True Scoop

With Diwali 2022 knocking on the doors, the Air Quality Index has started to take a massive dip, especially in New Delhi, NCR, and its neighboring States. While Diwali is not among the major factors contributing to the deterioration level of the AQI, it is expected that the air pollution level will increase and therefore it has forced the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR & Adjoining Areas (CAQM) to enforce Stage-2 of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in Delhi with immediate effect. Now, the question arises, what is GRAP and how will it help to improve the AQI level?

What are the Graded Response Action Plan and its stages?

For the unversed, GRAP or Graded Response Action Plan is a set of emergency measures that are imposed to prevent the deterioration of air quality once it reaches a certain level. GRAP is divided into four stages and therefore restrictions are different based on different stages. Stage 1 of GRAP kicks in when the AQI is in the 'poor' category (201 to 300).

The second, third and fourth stages start three days ahead of the AQI reaching the 'very poor' category (301 to 400), 'severe' category (401 to 450) and 'severe +' category (above 450) respectively. For this, the CAQM is relying on air quality and meteorological forecasts by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Notably, if measures under Stage-2 are activated, measures under Stage-1 will continue to remain in place.

What is CAQM?

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 Dr T K Joshi, Health Advisor, Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, Maulana Azad Medical College. The sub-committee is required to meet frequently to issue orders to invoke the GRAP.

What are the measures that will be enforced this year?

This year, for the first time, GRAP 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 sale of four-wheelers in Delhi and NCR districts bordering Delhi, except for BS-VI vehicles and those plying for emergency or essential services. Under this category, there will also be a ban on the movement of Delhi-registered, diesel-operated medium and heavy goods vehicles in Delhi, with exceptions for those carrying essential commodities or providing essential services.

Furthermore, 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.

Construction activities on linear public projects like highways, roads, flyovers, pipelines and power transmission, will be banned under the ‘severe +’ category this year.

What are some other measures being considered?

Under the ‘severe +’ category, State governments may consider additional emergency measures like the closure of schools, sale of vehicles on an odd-even basis, and decide on allowing public, municipal and private offices to work on 50% strength and the rest to work from home. (For instace- Delhi Government's Odd-Even formula).

What are citizens required to do?

The revised GRAP also has a set of measures for the public to follow – under the ‘poor’ category, this includes keeping vehicle engines tuned, ensuring PUC certificates are updated and switching off vehicle engines at red lights. Under the ‘very poor’ category, it is suggested that citizens use public transport and replace air filters in their automobiles.

Under the ‘severe’ category, a recommendation is made to work from home if possible, and not use coal and wood for heating. Under the ‘severe +’ category, GRAP advises people with chronic diseases and children and the elderly to avoid outdoor activities.

GRAP sanctions or restrictions based on AQI level

Stage 1 (AQI ‘Poor’ – 201 to 300)

(1) Stopping all construction and demolition activities with plot size of 500 square metres or more which have not been registered on dust mitigation monitoring portals

(2) Mechanised sweeping, water sprinkling on roads

(3) Enforcing guidelines on use of anti-smog guns at construction sites

987 cases of stubble burning reported in Punjab, but who is counting?

(4) Enforcing ban on open burning of waste and PUC (pollution under control norms) for vehicles

(5) DISCOMs to minimise power supply interruptions in NCR

(6) Encourage offices to start unified commute for employees to reduce traffic

Stage 2 (AQI 'Very poor' – 301 to 400)

(1) Not allowing coal/firewood in tandoors at hotels

(2) Stopping use of diesel generator sets except for essential and emergency services (hospitals, railways, metro services, airports, water pumping stations, 'projects of national importance')

(3) enhance parking fees to discourage private transport

(4) augment CNG/ electric bus and metro services by procuring additional fleet and increasing the frequency of service

Stage 3 (AQI ‘Severe’ – 401 to 450)

(1) Ban on construction and demolition activities except railway, metro, hospitals, sanitation projects etc, linear public projects like highways, roads, flyovers

(2) closure of industries that have PNG supply and are not running on approved fuels. In industrial areas that don’t have PNG supply, industries not running on approved fuels will operate only for five days a week

(3) State governments in NCR may impose restrictions on BS III petrol and BS IV diesel four wheelers

Stage 4 (AQI 'Severe +' – more than 450)

(1) Stop entry of truck traffic into Delhi (except for essentials, CNG, and electric trucks)

(2) Ban on plying of Delhi registered diesel medium and heavy goods vehicles in Delhi, except for essentials

(3) Ban on plying of 4-wheeler diesel vehicles in Delhi and districts of NCR bordering Delhi, except BS-VI vehicles and vehicles used for essential or emergency services

(4) State Governments may consider additional emergency measures like closure of schools, plying of vehicles on odd-even basis

(5) NCR State governments to decide on allowing public, municipal and private offices to work on 50% strength and the rest to work from home

(6) Ban C&D activities in linear public projects such as highways, roads, flyovers