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Supreme Court Orders ‘Work From Home’ Over Air Pollution In Indian Capital Delhi

The Supreme Court also sought urgent steps to rein in crop waste fires in the neighbouring states of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Farmers often burn crop waste to clear fields for a new sowing season

Supreme Court Orders 'Work From Home' Over Air Pollution In Indian Capital Delhi
Highlights
  • Delhi has been battling a toxic haze since early November
  • Hazardous air pollution in Delhi-NCR has led to the closure of schools
  • On Nov 15, AQI was at 343 on a scale of 500, a sign of very poor conditions

New Delhi: India’s Supreme Court told authorities on Monday (November 15) to shut offices in the capital and nearby cities, allowing millions to work from home as officials seek ways to reduce hazardous air pollution that led to the closure of schools. Its action came after city authorities in New Delhi, which has been battling a toxic haze since early November, took emergency measures on Saturday, ordering the closure of schools and building work for four days.

Also Read: Meet Earthshot Prize Winner Whose Innovation Can Address Air Pollution

We direct the centre and states of the national capital region to impose work from home for the meantime, said Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, head of a panel of three judges considering a petition by a city resident.

The court also sought urgent steps to rein in crop waste fires in the neighbouring states of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, set by hundreds of thousands of farmers looking to clear fields for a new sowing season.

“We want action on the issue,” said Justice Surya Kant. Although the court did not set a deadline for the action by authorities, it will next take up the pollution issue on Wednesday.

India’s efforts to reduce the burning of crop waste, a major source of air pollution during winter, have had little benefit, despite its expenditure of billions of rupees over the past four years.

Also Read: In Times Of COVID-19, Health Experts Red Flag The Impact Of Worsening Air Pollution

An index of air quality stood at 343 on a scale of 500 in Delhi on Monday, a sign of “very poor” conditions that can cause respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.

The capital experienced severe conditions late last week as temperatures dropped and the index reached 499.

The Supreme Court also ordered measures to halt vehicle traffic that is not essential, cut industrial pollution and limit dust.

Contributors to the poor air quality in Delhi, often ranked the world’s most polluted capital, include coal-fired plants outside the city as well as the burning of garbage in the open.

Also Read: Air Pollution One Of The Biggest Environmental Threats To Human Health, Says WHO, Toughens Guidelines

(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 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 populationindigenous 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 (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 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,  that 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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