New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has formed a panel to monitor the implementation of the recommendations for checking air pollution in and around the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here in a time-bound manner. While entrusting the responsibility of adopting the measures required to reduce air pollution inside the campus to the medical institute’s director, the tribunal has also constituted a separate panel to study identical issues at several other government hospitals in the national capital and issue appropriate Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
The NGT was hearing a petition claiming failure of the authorities concerned to control air pollution in and around premier healthcare institutions, including AIIMS Delhi, to the detriment of the health of patients, their attendants, doctors and staff.
The NGT had in March formed a seven-member joint committee comprising the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), area divisional or District Forest Officer (DFO), Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), the AIIMS director or his nominee and a nominee of the Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital to make recommendations to remedy the situation.
A bench of Chairperson Justice A K Goel accepted the report of the joint committee filed on July 1, and said the measures suggested had to be implemented in a time-bound manner.
The bench, also comprising judicial member Justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert member A Senthil Vel, said,
We also agree that a hospital complex being an environmentally sensitive area, an environmental management plan is required not only covering the campus but also the surrounding periphery. Prohibited and regulated activities need to be identified and mentioned in such a plan.
Regarding the measures to be adopted outside the AIIMS campus, including control of traffic congestion, removing encroachments, congestion at gates, speeding of vehicles, improving road conditions, control of dust and other sources of pollution, the bench constituted an eight-member joint committee.
The committee comprising representatives of the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), Public Works Department (PWD), Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Delhi Police, city traffic police, AIIMS, CPCB, and DPCC has to prepare an action plan in light of the recommendations of the joint committee and to monitor its execution in a time bound manner, the bench said.
Ambient air quality in and around the campus be monitored and as and when it exceeds the laid down parameters within 500 meters of the boundaries of AIIMS, regulatory measures be taken in the light of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). Such action plan be prepared preferably by July 31.
GRAP is a set of measures followed to tackle air pollution in Delhi and its adjacent areas according to the severity of the situation The bench said the Commissioner of Police and Director, AIIMS will act jointly as the nodal agency for coordination and compliance, and the first meeting for this purpose be held by July 15.
The first meeting to review the execution of the plan be held by August 31, it said.
The bench also noted the measures required inside the AIIMS campus, including plantation, waste management, regulation of footfall of visitors and other attendants of patients, squatting, nature of vehicles, management of patient services, parking issues, providing shuttle service, landscaping, involvement of voluntary organisations or individuals, and preparation of environment management or action plan.
It said the AIIMS Director, in coordination with departments concerned, will be responsible for adopting these measures.
The bench said,
Director AIIMS will be free to explore deployment of suitable security force, including Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), if available. The Director AIIMS may hold the first meeting for the purpose at the earliest, preferably before July 15 and finalise the action plan and place the same on the website of AIIMS by August 31.
The tribunal said there were identical issues in several other government hospitals, including Safdarjung Hospital just opposite AIIMS, and they required issuance of an appropriate Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), after study and due consideration, by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and the Union Ministry of Health.
Accordingly, we constitute a five-member joint committee to be headed by the Secretary, (union) Ministry of Health with representatives of MoEF&CC, (union) Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry of Home Affairs, not below the rank of Joint Secretary and nominee of CPCB not below the rank of Director.
The tribunal said the committee can interact with stakeholders and obtain data on the status of the availability of environment management plans covering all sources of pollution in and around all government district hospitals or larger than district hospitals, including medical colleges.
The panel has to meet within one month and finalise a questionnaire for getting specific information within one month thereafter, the tribunal said.
“Considering the data collected, appropriate SOP may be finalised within three months and placed on the website of the Ministry of Health,” the tribunal said.
The Committee may specify issues to be covered within the complex and outside the boundary of the healthcare facility complex up to specified periphery for regulation and control of polluting activities which may be found necessary to offset the adverse impact on the environment, the tribunal added.
It said the committee has to file an action taken report within four months.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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