Owing to the rising levels of air pollution in the National Capital Region, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) has declared a Public health Emergency in the NCR region.
The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority:
► The EPCA is a Supreme court-appointed statutory body with the objective of ‘protecting and improving’ the quality of the environment and ‘controlling environmental pollution’ in the National Capital Region.
► It was constituted under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act by the central government in 1998.
► It is empowered to issue directions to combat the rising pollution and has the power to file criminal complaints (under Section 19 of the Act) before courts, if its directions are not followed by the related parties.
► The EPCA is also mandated to enforce Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in the city as per the pollution levels.
► Besides the chairman, the EPCA has 19 members.
Public Health Emergency:
► The EPCA declared the Public health Emergency on 1st November 2019 as the air quality index of the NCR region was detected to be in the “severe’ category.
→ An AQI between 0-50 is considered ‘good’,
301-400 ‘very poor’ and
→ Above 500 falls in the ‘severe-plus emergency’ category.
► Following the declaration of Health Emergency by EPCA:
→ Construction activities in the NCR has been banned till 5th November 2019.
→ Hot mix plants, stone crushers to be closed till 5th November 2019.
→ All coal and fossil fuel-based industries (except power-plants) to remain closed in Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Panipat, Sonepat and Bahadurgarh till 5th November 2019.
→ Cracker burning has been banned for the entire winter.
► Furthermore, the Delhi Government decided to close all schools in Delhi till 5th November 2019.
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