Red light on, engine off: Arvind Kejriwal calls on public to fight air pollution in Delhi-NCR

Red light on, engine off: Arvind Kejriwal calls on public to fight air pollution in Delhi-NCR

With air quality in Delhi-NCR hitting 'very poor' levels, the AAP government has announced a new campaign to tackle the problem. The campaign 'Red Light On, Gaadi Off' encourages people to switch their vehicles' engines off while waiting at traffic signals.

he Delhi government on Thursday launched a new initiative to tackle the problem of rising air pollution in the national capital.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said, "We are launching a campaign 'Red Light On, Gaadi Off' to tackle air pollution." The Delhi CM added: "There are one crore vehicles registered in Delhi. According to experts, even if 10 lakh vehicles turn off ignition at traffic signals, then 1.5 tonnes of PM10 will reduce in a year."

Arvind Kejriwal said, "We all should take an oath today. If you switch the engine off, you will save more fuel and it will also help reduce pollution."

Delhi-NCR air quality enters 'very poor' zone

Air quality in Delhi-NCR has hit 'very poor' levels even as stricter anti-air pollution measures, including a ban on electricity generators, came into force under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) on Thursday.

Delhi recorded an air quality index (AQI) of 315 at 11.10 am. The last time the air quality hit such a poor level was in February.

The 24-hour average AQI was 276 on Wednesday, which falls in the 'poor' category. It was 300 on Tuesday, 261 on Monday, 216 on Sunday and 221 on Saturday.

ITO (AQI 372), Vivek Vihar (AQI 370), and Shadipur (AQI 359) recorded the highest pollution levels on Thursday morning.

The air quality in the neighbouring cities of Faridabad (317), Ghaziabad (326), Greater Noida (344) and Noida (314) was also in the red zone.

An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'.

GRAP comes into force

GRAP, a set of anti-pollution measures followed in Delhi and its vicinity towns according to the severity of the situation, comes into force on Thursday.

The measures under GRAP include increasing bus and metro services, hiking parking fees and stopping use of diesel generator sets when the air quality turns poor.

When the situation turns "severe", GRAP recommends closure of brick kilns, stone crushers and hot mix plants, sprinkling of water, frequent mechanised cleaning of roads and maximising power generation from natural gas.

The measures to be followed in the "emergency" situation include stopping the entry of trucks in Delhi, ban on construction activities and introduction of the odd-even car rationing scheme.