New Delhi, Jan 4 (PTI) The Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) on Friday came down heavily on authorities over continuing traffic congestion and garbage burning activities that are worsening air quality in the national capital.

EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal, in a meeting with representatives of Delhi Pollution Control Committee, DSIDC, civic bodies, police and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, asked police to strictly regulate traffic and ensure its smooth passage.

Various road stretches in Sarai Rohilla, Anand Vihar, Zakhira Najafgarh Road, Soan Park, Azadpur Mandi where heavy traffic congestion is resulting in increase in pollution were identified.

In Sarai Rohilla, Lal was told by authorities that the absence of a foot-over bridge is resulting in increase in traffic.

“Illegal encroachment further adds to traffic woes in the capital. Guards need to be posted to ensure smooth passage of traffic,” Lal said.

He also ordered police to ensure traffic regulations are followed strictly, especially in Soan Park in Mundaka where he said no traffic regulations are followed.

Lal expressed concern over garbage burning in Bawana, Mundaka and Narela which worsens the air quality.

He lashed out at the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIDC) Ltd. for not monitoring day-to-day status of garbage accumulation.

He also came down heavily on civic body officials over not lifting garbage regularly in Nangloi.

Delhi’s air quality has been oscillating between ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ categories for the past three weeks.

Delhi’s air quality was in the ‘very poor’ category on Tuesday, before deteriorating to ‘severe’ on Wednesday as it was on Monday. Since Wednesday the air quality was in the severe category before slightly improving on Friday morning to very poor.

In view of the prevalence of severe air quality for over 31 hours, the EPCA on Thursday imposed the 24-hour ban on the entry of trucks.

Entry of trucks to Delhi would be stopped for 24 hours starting 11 pm Friday in view of the severe pollution in the national capital, the Supreme Court-appointed EPCA has instructed authorities.

In a letter to chief secretaries of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, Lal directed them to stop the entry of truck traffic into Delhi, except essential commodities, from 11 pm on January 4 to 11 pm of January 5.

“The enforcement of this direction requires coordination of all NCR (National Capital Region) states and you are therefore, requested to take steps to ensure that this happens.

“Also, the opening of the Eastern and Western Expressway will make this easier to implement as the trucks that are not destined for Delhi now have convenient alternative to take,” Lal said.

Lal also urged people to minimise use of personal vehicles and avoid being outside for prolonged periods.

The direction came after the recommendations of the Central Pollution Control Board-led task force.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.