The national capital recorded a 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of 330 on Sunday.
The Supreme Court today delivered a sharp rebuke during the hearing on the air pollution in Delhi and nearby cities as it sought an action plan from the state government by tomorrow evening.
The Delhi government has told the Supreme Court that it is ready to take steps like complete lockdown to fight air pollution, but adds that it will have only a limited impact.
Delhi's air pollution was a "crisis situation", the judges said, sharply pulling up the city government for "lame excuses" and "passing the buck", and insisting on immediate steps as the Supreme Court resumed its hearing.
Here are the higlights on Delhi Air Pollution:
Supreme Court Warns AAP Government Of Auditing Ad Spend Amid Air Crisis
The Supreme Court today warned the Delhi government of an audit of ad spend over "passing the buck" as the national capital and neighboring cities continue to choke in toxic air even after a week. The top court yet again stressed the need to take urgent measures while asking the Arvind Kejriwal government to submit an action plan by tomorrow evening. The central government and the states, including Haryana and Punjab, have been told by the top court to consider work-from-home for their employees. Farmers should be told to halt stubble burning for a week, the court said.
On the affidavit submitted today by the Arvind Kejriwal government, Chief Justice NV Ramana asked: "What drastic measures are you taking? Forget affidavits. Road dust...what are you doing on that?"
Pollution due to factories, transportation, dust, and some part of stubble burning, are the major contributing factors, the top court underlined today.
When lawyer Rahul Mehra, representing the Delhi government, said that the Mayor of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (ruled by the BJP) can file an affidavit on how many mechanical road sweeping machines are needed to counter road dust pollution, the Chief Justice said, "Are you trying to put the blame on municipal corporations?" Are you trying to pass the buck?"
Stubble Burning Not Major Cause Of Pollution In Delhi, Northern States: Centre Tells Supreme Court
The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that stubble burning is not the major cause of worsening air quality in Delhi and northern states, as it contributes to only 10 per cent of the pollution.
To bring down pollution, the central government suggested three steps to the Supreme Court which include the introduction of an odd-even vehicle scheme, a ban on trucks'' entry in Delhi, and the severest - lockdown.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court concluded that major culprits of air pollution are transport, industries, vehicular traffic apart from stubble burning in some areas.
Delhi Minister Gopal Rai To Hold Meeting With Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Delhi Transport Corporation Officials Amid Rising Air Pollution Concerns
Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai is likely to hold a meeting with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) officials on Monday to discuss strengthening of public transport in wake of pollution crisis and hike in fare of Delhi Metro and DTC.
Earlier on Saturday, the Supreme Court had suggested the Centre for a two days lockdown to tackle air pollution in the national capital.
A Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Raman, Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant said, "Tell us how we can reduce AQI from 500 at least by 200 points. Take some urgent measures. Can you think of two days lockdown or something? How can people live?"
The Supreme Court said that air quality in Delhi is in the ''severe'' category and in another two to three days it will dip further.
Next hearing on Wednesday.
CJI Reads Order
- Major culprit of pollution is industry, transport, road dust etc and some part is stubble burning
- The govt have not taken indicated precisely what are the steps they are taking to control these
- We direct Centre to hold emergency meeting tomorrow and what are the steps they can take
- Stubble burning, while its not the major cause but there is a lot of stubble burning happening in Punjab and Haryana . We request state govts to pursue farmers to stop the burning for a week
- Central Govt to consider WFH for a week for its employees
- Punjab, Haryana to also attend these meetings
Delhi Govt Lawyer: we have 69 machines for mechanical road sweeping. Whatever more are required we will issue funds immediately
CJI: You come back with exact figures
Delhi Govt Lawyer: Almost all steps Centre wanted us to take. We have taken it.
CJI to Delhi Govt Lawyer: There are other aspects also. Noida Gurgaon construction is taking place. Delhi-NCR means those areas too.
Delhi Govt lawyer: We are open to lockdown also. But its airshed issue the entire NCR will need one pronged approach
CJI: Then you call a meeting
Delhi Govt lawyer: We are open to lockdown but in whole NCR too then
CJI: We are not here to pass those orders to you. You speak to NCR states and decide how to control pollution
CJI: Governments keep filing affidavits but nothing happens. Then when we intervene its said we are "overreaching".
- Very unfortunate. We had expected steps from governments.
- Issues are stubble burning, road dust, transport.
- You meet all committees and tell us how to implement action plan by tomorrow evening
- Suggestions like stopping entry of non-essential vehicles, stopping industries
- Delhi Govt has started WFH
- But Delhi-NCR has a lot of Central govt employees so Centre should also consider WFH
- You come back to us by tom evening. If required we will hear tom evening or we will hear day after morning.
CJI: On stubble burning haryana Punjab etc concerned. You please pursue...do not force...pursue farmers to stop stubble burning for at least a week
Justice Surya Kant to Punjab Govt lawyer: Your affidavit does not talk about what incentives you will give to farmers?
CJI To Delhi Govt: What steps are you taking? Forget affidavits. Road dust. What are you doing on that?
SG: Biomass burning contributes 10% to pollution just wanted to state that figure again.
Justice DY Chandrachud to Delhi Govt: What steps are you taking in foreseeable future?
CJI to Delhi Govt: You have 69 machines for road cleaning and sweeping. That is sufficient?
Delhi Govt Lawyer: MCD can file affidavit on that
CJI: You are passing the buck to MCD
Delhi Govt lawyers: we will take instructions
CJI: We can' do this everyday. You cannot take so much time
Justice DY Chandrachud: You tell us immediate steps. How do you augment no of machines within 24 hours
Delhi Govt Lawyer: I will speak to Chief Sect and come back
Justice Surya Kant: We are already handling cases where Delhi govt has apparently not even given money to MCD to pay salaries to employees. And you are passing the buck to them
SG: Delhi govt and all state govts are acting on this. Haryana also. There is no politics. Mechanised sweeping of roads
J Surya Kant: How many machines do you require everyday for that?
J Surya Kant: We will have to speak to Delhi Govt
J Surya Kant: no point in Delhi Govt affidavit. In whole affidavit they are only blaming farmers
Justice DY Chandrachud: Now cat is out of the bag. Farmers stubble burning is contributing only 4%. Its insignificant
Justice Surya Kant: Are you agreeing in principle that stubble burning is not major cause?
Justice Surya Kant: So that hue and cry has no scientific and legal basis?
Justice Surya Kant: you talk abt stopping entry of big trucks. But why not stop entry of all vehicles into Delhi for next 2-3 days
Justice DY Chandrachud: Industry dust and transport cause pollution. In terms of these what measures do we expect immediately from you?
CJI: Without these marathon meetings also we had said last time that stubble is not main cause... industry and road dust etc are. We had asked Govts to take steps
Justice Surya Kant: CJI had asked you for emergency steps. What steps you are saying...its a long term plan
SG: We are not averse to drastic measures
Justice Surya Kant: What drastic measures can you take immediately which are also scientifically proven so situation can improve immediately
Justice Surya Kant: You say mechanised cleaning of roads. But how many of these machines are readily available
Adv Vikas Singh for petitioners: No action on stubble burning in Punjab due to upcoming elections
CJI: Don't raise issue of elections. We have nothing to do with politics. The other day SG had taken one objection (that Centre was being accused of blaming farmers) and today you are taking objection (on elections and politics)
CJI: We will hear you later
Adv Vikas Singh for petitioners: Construction should be regulated not banned.
We went through all affidavits and Centre and we are making suggestions based on that
Punjab politics...no control stubble burning
Need independent committee
Justice DY Chandrachud: this is a crisis situation. We cannot go into new suggestions and systems now. Centre already filed over 50 pages affidavit earlier also and we have to make a way through steps already cited by them. On making that better...focus. so that we get something concrete instead of just criticising.
SG Tushar Mehta: Delhi govt has taken several steps
CJI: you had said emergency meeting. What happened?
SG: Sorry meeting went on till late and we filed affidavit late
CJI: Yes we got it at 11 pm
SG: Starts reading out Graded Response Action Plan and how different measures for different AQI levels...steps in Delhi
SG: Even in Haryana...WFH started, trash burning stopped
SG: We have not suggested that you shut down Badarpur power plant but do focus on alternative fuels
SG: We said in Delhi stop using diesel generators
SG: We suggested increasing public transport. Open burning should be stopped.
SG: Yesterday was bad AQI. Today AQI is better
SG: Results of yesterday's meeting is that we have told them that state govts should be in readiness to implement GRAP measures
SG: Road dust is a major cause of pollution. Sprinkling of water on roads
SG: Badarpur's shut down already because of Delhi Govt measures. We did not direct that it was to be shut down.
SG: enhance parking fees. Stop use of diesel generators.
SG: Stop garbage burning in landfills
Air Pollution hearing begins
- The Delhi Government has told the Supreme Court in an affidavit that it is ready to take measures like complete lockdown to control the air pollution.
- However, such measure will be effective only lockdown is imposed in National Capital Region areas across neighboring states, the Delhi Government added.
- "The Delhi government is ready to take steps like complete lock down to control local emissions. However, such a step would be meaningful if it is implemented across the NCR areas in neighbouring states. Given Delhi's compact size, a lock down would have limited impact on the air quality regime," says the affidavit.
- "We are ready to consider this step if the same is mandated for the entire NCR areas by the Government of India or by the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas," said the Delhi government.