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Situation In Mumbai ‘Emergent’: Bombay High Court Calls For Preventive Measures For Air Pollution

Industries and public projects must be frequently monitored and inspected to ensure compliance with air pollution norms and rules, the Bombay HC noted

Situation In Mumbai 'Emergent': Bombay High Court Calls For Preventive Measures For Air Pollution
The court said the law and rules on air pollution were in place, but now their implementation was required

Mumbai: The approach to tackle air pollution in Mumbai cannot be remedial anymore, it has to be preventive, the Bombay High Court said on Monday (March 18), describing the situation in the city as “emergent”. A division bench of Chief Justice D K Upadhyaya and Justice G S Kulkarni said the law and rules on air pollution were in place, but now their implementation was required.

While the air quality index in the city may be satisfactory, it will return to being poor or in the worse category in a few months, it said.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions and one it had taken up on its own on the rising air pollution in the city in December last year.

Also Read: Air Pollution Linked To Higher Hospitalisations For Heart, Lung Diseases

The court on Monday noted that industries and public projects must be frequently monitored and inspected to ensure compliance with air pollution norms and rules. The court said,

We have the law and rules. What is required is implementation. There has to be a permanent and robust mechanism to ensure implementation.

The bench said,

Now we have to change the approach. It cannot be remedial, it has to be preventive. The approach now cannot be that you are thirsty so you dig a well. Now these are emergent situations.

The court questioned,

Ultimately what we find is everything is in place on paper. Guidelines are there…enactments are there….still, why are we facing all this?

The bench further noted that passing mechanical orders will not help. It said,

We should have a statutory mechanism to address all this instead of involving the court.

The court said the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) was duty-bound to ensure all industries and public project sites comply with the norms and rules.

There has to be frequent monitoring and inspection, it said. The court said,

The problem is during night time emission from industries is more, causing air pollution in the morning.

In the past, industries were generally located outside town or city limits, but with development, residential structures have come up around such establishments, the court said. Justice Kulkarni questioned,

Does the state government have any policy by which industries can be shifted to certain other zones?

Advocate General Birendra Saraf, appearing for the government, informed the bench that in accordance with earlier orders an inspection was carried out at seven public project sites and certain shortcomings were found.

Also Read: Air Pollution: Centre Withdraws All GRAP Measures From Delhi-NCR

These projects include road concretisation at suburban Bandra and Khar, the bullet train site at the Bandra-Kurla Complex, the Versova-Bandra Sealink, Mumbai Metro- III, Mumbai Coastal Road, and the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link. Saraf told the court,

Certain shortcomings were found and the norms were not strictly enforced, but now everything is in place. All the shortcomings have been addressed.

The bench directed the MPCB to start the audit of industries in the state immediately.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on June 20.

(Except for the headline, 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 in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. 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 populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation 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 well-being, 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 pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual 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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