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Bengal: Streets to be washed twice a day to counter winter pollution | Kolkata News

KOLKATA: State environment minister Manas Ranjan Bhunia on Wednesday announced the graded response action plan (GRAP) for six non-attainment cities in Bengal, including Kolkata, to fight pollution. The action plan includes twice-a-day mechanized sweeping and water sprinkling on roads along with the use of dust suppressants, especially at pollution hot spots, heavy traffic corridors and vulnerable areas.
A non-attainment city is the one whose air did not meet the national ambient air quality standards.

Streets to be washed twice a day to counter winter pollution

“On November 26, in the presence of ministers and people’s representatives, the GRAP will begin all across six non-attainment cities – Kolkata, Howrah, Asansol, Bidhannagar, Haldia, Durgapur. The GRAP will continue till March-end,” said Bhunia.
“Since Kolkata has a high contribution of trans-border pollution, we are planning plantation of trees as a green barrier along Bengal’s border with Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha. The forest department will help the pollution control board – both in the choice of species of plants and also in physical plantations,” the minister said.
Environmentalists and green activists have been calling for the introduction of GRAP in Kolkata, often the second-most polluted mega city after Delhi during the winter.
Bhunia said the GRAP will also ensure the disposal of dust and solid waste collected in the designated landfill sites. The PCB will act tough against garbage burning in landfill sites and take necessary action. PCB will also enforce prohibition of open burning of biomass and municipal solid waste.
PCB has already finalized the employment of fire tenders at landfill sites where methane often catches fire and causes tremendous emission. “We are stressing on ensuring that construction and demolition dust is contained properly,” said a PCB officer.
The GRAP also emphasizes synchronized traffic movement and deployment of adequate personnel at intersections and traffic congestion points for a smooth flow of traffic that can reduce pollution by nearly 17%. The GRAP also emphasises on continuous monitoring and implementation of the mitigation procedures at the identified hot spots.
There will be strict vigilance and enforcement of PUC norms and take action against visibly polluting vehicles by impounding the vehicle or by imposing a heavy fine. It was also decided that non-destined trucks will be diverted to reduce the number of heavy goods vehicles on the road by 50%.
Besides, the PCB has issued notification against the recent NGT order reiterating the use of noise limiter with every amplifier and sound box. “We have shared the list of 25,000 suppliers of sound amplifiers with the police commissionerates, SPs of all police districts and the district magistrates. The list has further been broken up on the basis of police stations so that it is easier for each police station to enforce noise limiter,” said PCB member secretary Rajesh Kumar.

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