What is Graded Response Action Plan?

11 October 2020.


 Some stricter measures to fight air pollution will come into force in Delhi and its neighbouring National Capital Region (NCR) towns, as part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) from 15th October.The action plan has been in effect for three years in Delhi and NCR.

What is GRAP?

  • The GRAP was approved by the Supreme Court in 2016.
  •  The plan was formulated after several meetings that the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) held with state government representatives and experts.
  • GRAP works only as an emergency measure.
  •  As such, the plan does not include action by various state governments to be taken throughout the year to tackle industrial, vehicular and combustion emissions.
  • The plan is incremental in nature — therefore, when the air quality moves from ‘Poor’ to ‘Very Poor’, the measures listed under both sections have to be followed.
  • If air quality reaches the ‘Severe+’ stage, the response under GRAP includes extreme measures such as shutting down schools and implementing the odd-even road-space rationing scheme.
  • GRAP has been successful in doing two things  — creating a step-by-step plan for the entire Delhi-NCR region, and getting on board several agencies: all pollution control boards, industrial area authorities, municipal corporations, regional officials of the India Meteorological Department, and others.
  • The plan requires action and coordination among 13 different agencies in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan (NCR areas). At the head of the table is the EPCA, mandated by the Supreme Court.
  • GRAP was notified in 2017 by the Centre and draws its authority from this notification. Before the imposition of any measures, EPCA holds a meeting with representatives from all NCR states, and a call is taken on which actions have to be made applicable in which town.
  • A blanket ban on the DG sets for Delhi-NCR towns from October 15 onward was announced last year as well.
  • Has GRAP helped?
  • The biggest success of GRAP has been in fixing accountability and deadlines. For each action to be taken under a particular air quality category, executing agencies are clearly marked. In a territory like Delhi, where a multiplicity of authorities has been a long-standing impediment to effective governance, this step made a crucial difference.
  • Severe+ or Emergency
  • (PM 2.5 over 300 µg/cubic metre or PM10 over 500 µg/cu. m. for 48+ hours)
  • * Stop entry of trucks into Delhi (except essential commodities)
  • * Stop construction work
  • * Introduce odd/even scheme for private vehicles and minimise exemptions
  • * Task Force to decide any additional steps including shutting of schools
  • Severe
  • (PM 2.5 over 250 µg/cu. m. or PM10 over 430 µg/cu. m.)
  • * Close brick kilns, hot mix plants, stone crushers
  • * Maximise power generation from natural gas to reduce generation from coal
  • * Encourage public transport, with differential rates
  • * More frequent mechanised cleaning of road and sprinkling of water
  • Very Poor
  • (PM2.5 121-250 µg/cu. m. or PM10 351-430 µg/cu. m.)
  • * Stop use of diesel generator sets
  • * Enhance parking fee by 3-4 times
  • * Increase bus and Metro services
  • * Apartment owners to discourage burning fires in winter by providing electric heaters during winter
  • * Advisories to people with respiratory and cardiac conditions to restrict outdoor movement
  • Moderate to poor
  • (PM2.5 61-120 µg/cu. m. or PM10 101-350 µg/cu. m.)
  • * Heavy fines for garbage burning
  • * Close/enforce pollution control regulations in brick kilns and industries
  • * Mechanised sweeping on roads with heavy traffic and water sprinkling
  • * Strictly enforce ban on firecrackers

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