New Delhi: The current air pollution levels in the national capital have reached "alarming" proportions and living here is like "living in a gas chamber", the Delhi High Court said today.
The court directed the Centre and the Delhi government to submit time bound action plans on tackling pollution by the next hearing on December 21. The bench of Justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva dismissed the action plans filed by the environment ministry and the Delhi government as "not comprehensive" because they did not contain specific responsibilities of each authority and the timeline for carrying them out, news agency Press Trust of India reported.
The court "expressed displeasure over unchecked rising pollution in Delhi" during today's hearing. "The level of PM 2.5 has crossed level of 60, then why hasn't the government done anything to curb it?," the court asked. PM 2.5, particulate matter with size less than or equal to 2.5 microns, is considered the smallest and the deadliest pollutant.
The high court's observations come a day after the National Green Tribunal had slammed the Delhi government for not acting "seriously" on mounting pollution problem. The NGT had also directed the Delhi government to issue a notification within a week listing the most polluted areas in the city.
In seven out of 10 monitoring stations of the Central Pollution Control Board across Delhi, PM 2.5 was found to be the major pollutant. The permissible limit for PM 2.5 is 60 micro grams per cubic metre, which the court was referring to.
The court also wanted to know why the government had not taken action to ban burning of garbage.
The Delhi Traffic Police, in an affidavit filed in the court today, said it has identified 14 places in Delhi where pollution levels are high due to large volumes of vehicular traffic. These locations include the road from IIT flyover to Panchsheel, Ashram and the stretch from Gurgaon to Dhaula Kuan.
The court also asked for an air purifier to be installed at the High Court premises.