New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has refused to review its order that directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to monitor the implementation of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to combat different levels of air pollution. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the tribunal did not intend to supersede or replace the procedure laid down in the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) Notification. It said the directions were meant to supplement the GRAP as an effective additional mechanism for compliance of its directions.
Review has been sought on the ground that the order is contrary to the Policy of the GRAP notified by the Environment Ministry by Notification dated January 12, 2017 whereby the task of implementation of GRAP for Delhi-NCR, has been vested in the EPCA. This policy, as per the applicant, was also approved by the Supreme Court, the bench said.
“The tribunal had clearly expressed that the direction for monitoring by the Central Pollution Control Board was in respect of the directions issued in the order dated December 18, 2017 and was not intended to supplant the procedure laid down in the EPCA Notification. For the aforesaid reason, we do not find any merit in the review application and is accordingly dismissed,” it added.
The tribunal was hearing a plea seeking review of its July 27, 2018 order directing CPCB to monitor the implementation of GRAP to combat different levels of air pollution. It had directed that GRAP, already notified, be implemented by CPCB with some modifications and further reports in the matter be filed before the apex pollution monitoring body and the same be monitored by it. “If any further directions required the CPCB may act in accordance with law or matter brought before this Tribunal,” the bench had said.
Observing that air quality in the national capital was “severe” for most of the month, the tribunal had earlier directed implementation of the GRAP. The apex environment watchdog said there was no uniformity and “unanimity” in action plans of the CPCB and the Supreme Court appointed EPCA. The NGT had divided air pollution into four categories- Category I (Average), II (Severe), III (Critical) and IV (Environmental Emergency). While category I action plan would come in force when Particulate Matter (PM) 10 is more than 100 micrograms per cubic metre but less than 300 and PM2.5 is more than 60 but below 180, category II will be in action when PM10 is more than 300 µg/m3 but less than 700 µg/m3 and PM2.5 is more than 180 but below 400 µg/m3. Category III would be implemented when PM10 is more than 700 micrograms per cubic meter but below 1000 µg/m3 and PM2.5 is more than 400 µg/m3 but less than 600 µg/m3 and environmental emergency would be termed when PM10 is above 1000 µg/m3 and PM2.5 is above 600 µg/m3.
While CPCB has formulated six categories, which refer to different levels of pollution, good, satisfactory, moderately polluted, poor, very poor, severe and above severe, EPCA’s action plan, termed GRAP, has formulated five categories. These are severe plus or emergency, severe, very poor, moderate to poor and moderate. NGT had sought the implementation of odd-even in the third category, but the current GRAP calls for the move at the emergency or highest stringency levels. Terming as “critical” the levels of pollution in the third category, the NGT said immediate steps, including a ban on construction and introduction of the odd-even scheme, should be implemented by the authorities. When air pollution reaches environmental emergency levels, thermal power plants in Delhi should be shut down and sprinkling of water from the high-rise buildings should be done, the tribunal had said.
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.