On Friday, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) slammed the Centre and the Delhi government for failing to control the rising levels of pollution in the national capital.
The Centre for Science and Environment had said that the national capital was facing the worst smog in 17 years. Reports stated that PM2.5 levels had touched 883 in Anand Vihar area in East Delhi.
All schools in the city run by the municipal corporations have declared a holiday because of the alarming pollution levels. Some private ones also remained shut while others suspended morning assembly and advised the students to wear masks.
“It is unfair to the people of Delhi. In everything, the authorities are just throwing off their hands. We have to do something. You cannot say that time will do it,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar said.
“Regarding health (of the people), nobody is bothered. On air pollution, nobody’s bothered. The authorities are shifting the blame on each other. It is very bad,” the bench lashed out.
The bench asked the Delhi government what it had done for health of the people in the national capital, who were suffering under a thick blanket of smog for the past three days.
The bench directed Chief Secretary of Delhi to file by tomorrow a status report explaining what preventive steps they have taken to tackle the alarming air pollution and smog level.
The bench, which will hear the matter again on Saturday, asked the government to hold a meeting on the matter today itself.
Advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, who was appearing for the petitioner, told the bench that the government was not taking appropriate steps to curb air pollution.
The NGT was hearing a petition filed by scientist Mahendra Pandey seeking directions to the authorities to tackle the menace of dengue and chikungunya in the national capital.
The NGT has also asked the Delhi government to stop 10-year-old diesel vehicles from plying in the national capital to tackle the pollution.
Earlier in the day, CSE also asked the Delhi government to issue health alerts.
“This demands emergency response to protect the vulnerable those who are suffering from respiratory and heart diseases and children. The government should aggressively inform all and advise them to stay indoors and avoid outdoor exercises. At the same time, it should roll out stringent winter pollution control for all sources along with emergency action,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, head of CSE’s air pollution and sustainable mobility teams.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the Delhi government had told the NGT that high air pollution in national capital region was due to burning of crop in neighbouring Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan.
(With inputs from PTI)