New Delhi: With air quality dithering between “poor” and “very poor”, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday asked the Delhi government to deposit Rs. 25 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for its failure to curb air pollution in the city. The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi recorded by CPCB on Tuesday at 4pm was 356 which is considered “very poor” as compared to the CPCB recommended safe limit of 100.
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 is considered to be “severe”. According to CPCB, six areas, Ashok Vihar, Anand Vihar, Burari, Mundaka, Nehru Nagar and Wazirpur, recorded severe air quality, 25 areas recorded “very poor” air quality, while in four areas the AQI was in the “poor” category.
Ghaziabad recorded severe pollution level at 415 while Faridabad and Noida recorded “very poor” air quality of 368 and 388 respectively, according to the CPCB data. In Gurgaon the AQI recorded was “poor” at 255, it said.
The major pollutants in Delhi-NCR are Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) and Particulate Matter 10 (PM 10). The Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) has predicted a further rise in air pollution levels in the next two days. SAFAR said,
Although increasing-AQI trend is predicted from tonight (Tuesday night) for the next two days, it will remain in ‘very poor’ range only. This is mainly due to a decline in wind speed along with adverse meteorological conditions. The contribution from long-range dust or stubble biomass is negligible.
The Supreme Court appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) and CPCB have been directing the local authorities to follow the stringent Graded Response Action Plan to tackle the menace of pollution and prevent the air quality from deteriorating further. The National Green Tribunal had also ordered to follow the anti-pollution directives in the past.
Some of the responses and anti-pollution directives include actions from the local authorities to stop construction activities, check on industrial and vehicular emissions, sprinkle water on dusty roads, stop garbage burning, close brick kilns and stone crushers, stop diesel generator sets, and other such measures to stop pollution and improve the air quality.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said,
Despite clear directions by the tribunal, there is hardly any action for compliance of orders and pollution continues unabated in blatant violation of the law and under the nose of the authorities who have hardly done anything concrete except furnishing excuses and helplessness.
NGT has now asked the Delhi government to furnish a performance guarantee of Rs. 25 crore with the CPCB to ensure that there is no further lapse in this regard. It also said that the pollution caused by the unregulated handling of plastic continues to remain unabated in Delhi.
The tribunal had earlier directed the Delhi chief secretary to coordinate with the concerned municipal authorities, police authorities and other officers responsible for compliance of orders of this tribunal already passed referred to ensure compliance at the ground-level forthwith. It had asked the chief secretary to hold a joint meeting with the persons considered responsible for compliance and till the orders remain un-complied, continue to hold such meetings at least once a month.
A Representative of the Delhi government, Atishi Merlena, Aam Admi Party’s East Delhi Lok Sabha in-charge said that Delhi government is doing its bit to curb air pollution in the city and is working on bringing e-vehicles and e-buses.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), in a bid to curb pollution, fined seven construction firms for violation of air pollution norms. In a statement, SDMC informed that it has collected Rs. 3.5 lakh as penalties in the first three days of December. Each company has been fined Rs. 50,000. The building department of SDMC has said that the action will continue.
Municipal Commissioner Puneet Kumar Goel had also recently issued directions to the zonal deputy commissioners and other officials to issue challan under the National Green Tribunal rules to discourage people from littering garbage in the city, the SDMC said. It added that on Sunday the zonal teams took action against the burning of leaves and garbage, littering of streets with used plates, plastic cups, and they issued 180 challans.
However, last week, CPCB pointed out that the actions taken by the enforcement authorities on the public complaints against the polluting activities is not enough and urged the authorities to join social media platforms to address the pollution relate grievances of the people. EPCA Chairman, Bhura Lal also alleged last week that Delhi’s civic and urban bodies are not properly implementing the directions issued to curb pollution.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.