Graded plan to combat air pollution

Pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today. Diseases caused by pollution were responsible for an estimated 9 million premature deaths in 2015—16% of all deaths worldwide— three times more deaths than from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined and 15 times more than from all wars and other forms of violence. In the most severely affected countries, pollution-related disease is responsible for more than one death in four.

Children are at high risk of pollutionrelated disease and even extremely low-dose exposures to pollutants during windows of vulnerability in utero and in early infancy can result in disease, disability, and death in childhood and across their lifespan.

Thus the Government has notified a Graded Response Action Plan for Delhi and NCR, which comprises measures such as prohibition on entry of trucks into Delhi; ban on construction activities, introduction of odd and even scheme for private vehicles, shutting of schools, closure of brick kilns, hot mix plants and stone crushers; shutting down of Badarpur power plant, ban on diesel generator sets, garbage burning in landfills and plying of visibly polluting vehicles etc.

The nature, scope and rigor of measures to be taken is linked to levels of pollution viz. Severe + or Emergency, severe, Very poor, Moderate to poor and Moderate, after due consideration by authorities concerned. The actions are to be implemented in the entire NCR. Besides, action related to stubble burning is to be implemented by Government of Punjab.

The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority is a body empowered to enforce the Graded Response Action Plan.

Under the GRAP, measures under 'very poor' and 'severe' categories are rolled out when levels of PM2.5 are between 121-250 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) and above 250 µg/m3 respectively. PM10 levels have to be between 351-430 µg/m3 PM10 levels add above 430 µg/m3 respectively.

The severe plus or the emergency action plan under GRAP, which proposes a ban on construction activities, odd-even scheme, ban on entry of trucks and closure of schools, shall come into force when PM2.5 levels cross 300 µg/m3 or PM10 levels cross 500 µg/m3 (five times above the standard level) and persist for 48 hours or more.

Practice question:

1) Consider the following statements about Carbon tax:
1. It levies a fee on the production, distribution or use of fossil fuels based on how much carbon their combustion emits.
2. The coal cess implemented by government is a form of Carbon tax.
3. The carbon tax is levied only at the “upstream” on the fuel.
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

a) 1 and 3

b) 2 and 3

c) 1 and 2

d) All

Answer: c