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Guidelines for Better Monitoring and Regulation of Construction Dust

The existence of a host of guidelines available to control emission of construction dust from construction sites in Delhi and the involvement of a variety of stakeholders in the enforcement of the guidelines, starting from local bodies, police, DPCC and several other agencies, necessitated the development of some scientific, measurable guidelines that give a precise, quantifiable scale on which action may be based instead of perceptions.

DDC Delhi participated in the Delhi Dust Management Committee committee set up by Delhi’s Environment Department in 2021, consisting of representatives of different stakeholders viz. academics, researchers, construction agencies, enforcement authorities and think tanks, to explore the feasibility of such a project.

The mandate of the committee is to explore the feasibility of:

  • Monitoring of the construction site with special reference to dust emission and contribution to local ambient air quality
  • Monitoring instruments and equipment
  • Video surveillance of the site to identify the emission sources
  • Display the data and work progresses on electronic boards in prominent places to inform the neighbourhood
  • Data transfer from construction site to authorities and to project proponent
  • Reducing the human interface by automatization of assessment
  • Development of SOP for initiation of action

The committee came up with a comprehensive framework for round the clock monitoring through on-site PM monitors of dust emanating from construction activities and a framework for ensuring effective technology-led regulation of the same. The same is proposed to be implemented soon.

Meanwhile, based on the committee’s findings, Delhi Government announced a set of 14 guidelines on 17 September, 2021 that private construction companies have to follow to prevent dust pollution in Delhi. Construction and demolition activity in Delhi, the government stated, can be undertaken only after ensuring dust mitigation measures.

According to the guidelines, construction sites should be covered from all sides using tin sheds. The sites measuring more than 20,000 square metres will have to deploy anti-smog guns. Guidelines for using anti-smog guns in such construction projects were also released by the Environment Department.

Vehicles carrying construction material should also be covered. There should be no collection of Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste on the roadside. Besides, grinding of stones will also not be allowed in the open, the guidelines stated.

Installation of wind breaking walls of appropriate height around the periphery of the construction site and tarpaulin or green net on scaffolding around the area under construction and the building is a must. C&D waste has to be recycled on-site or transported to authorised recycling facilities, according to the guidelines.

Apart from these, construction agencies have also been instructed to provide adequate safety gear such as masks to all workers involved in activities such as loading, unloading and handling of construction material and waste.

Strict action has been taken against private agencies found not following the norms, as per the Winter Action Plan - a plan of action prepared by the Delhi government to curb the rising problem of pollution in the city.