The Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas (“CAQM”) has issued the revised Graded Response Action Plan (“GRAP”) for the National Capital Region of Delhi (“NCR”) under the provisions of the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act, 2021 (“Act”). The revised guidelines will come into effect from 01 October, 2022. The Supreme Court of India had directed CAQM in December, 2021 to invite suggestions from the general public and experts for finding permanent solutions to the air pollution menace. In compliance with the order CAQM has issued the revised GRAP based on recommendations by its expert group, thus replacing the plan released in 2017.
The revised GRAP provides an action plan to address air pollution in Delhi-NCR based on four different stages of adverse air quality. Stage – I denotes ‘poor’ air quality (Air Quality Index is from 201 to 300); Stage – II denotes ‘very poor’ air quality (Air Quality Index is from 301 to 400); Stage – III denotes ‘severe’ air quality (Air Quality Index is from 401 to 450); and Stage – IV denotes ‘severe+’ air quality (Air Quality Index exceeds >450) respectively. For each stage of adverse air quality, GRAP prescribes different measures to deal with various sources of pollution along with the names of agencies responsible for the implementation of such measures.
It is noteworthy that restrictive measures prescribed under the subsequent stages of adverse air quality will be implemented in addition to the action already being taken under the previous stages. This means that when the air quality reaches ‘severe+’ stage, steps taken under the previous stages, i.e., ‘poor’, ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ will continue to be implemented and all measures mentioned in GRAP will become effective until air the quality improves.