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National Green Tribunal Orders Measures For Reducing Air Pollution In And Around AIIMS

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

National Green Tribunal Orders Measures For Reducing Air Pollution In And Around AIIMS
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has formed a panel to monitor the implementation of the recommendations for checking air pollution in and around AIIMS

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).

Also Read: During January-June 2023, Delhi Registers Best Ever Air Quality In 8 Years

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.

Also Read: CM Arvind Kejriwal Says, Improving Delhi’s Air Quality Has Been Most Difficult Task

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.

It 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.

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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.

It said,

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.

Also Read: Study: Air Pollution Is Associated With Higher Risk Of Developing Severe COVID-19

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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