Delhi Air Quality: Delhi has been reporting the worst air quality this season.
The centre and states should consider work-from-home for their employees in and around Delhi and farmers should be persuaded to not burn farm waste to cut down pollution, the Supreme Court said Monday, as it took up the capital's air quality crisis.
Here are the top 10 points on this big story:
Post a comment
The court also directed the centre to call an emergency meeting of states and other authorities on Tuesday to chalk out immediate steps to reduce the toxic smog and said it would hear the matter again the next day.
Sharply pulling up the Delhi government for "lame excuses" and "passing the buck", and insisting on urgent measures rather than long-term goals, the Supreme Court said the capital's air pollution was a "crisis".
In a significant disclosure, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that farm waste burning accounted for just 10 per cent of the emissions on average through the year.
In an affidavit filed before the hearing, the Delhi government told the court that it was ready to take steps like a complete lockdown to fight air pollution though it will have a limited effect. Similar restrictions will be needed for the neighbouring areas of Delhi too, which come under the National Capital Region (NCR), it said.
"The Delhi government is ready to take steps like complete lockdown 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 lockdown would have limited impact on the air quality regime," says the affidavit.
Listing the steps taken so far, Delhi said no physical classes would be held in schools this week and government officials would work from home. Private offices have also been advised to Work From Home. Construction sites will be shut for three days.
Hearing the case on Saturday, Chief Justice NV Ramana had asked the central government to come up with an emergency plan to tackle the dangerous smog, calling the situation "very serious".
Asking the centre and states to submit their response by Monday, the Chief Justice said: "You tell us how do you plan to take the emergency measures? Two-day lockdown? What is your plan on lowering the AQI (Air Quality Index) levels?".
Air quality in Delhi, often ranked the world's most polluted capital, has declined due to crop stubble burning, emissions from transport, coal-fired plants outside the city and other industries, as well as open garbage burning and dust.
Although it was in the ''very poor'' category, Delhi reported an improvement in the air quality on Sunday recording a 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of 330 against 437 the previous day as emissions from farm fires in Haryana and Punjab dropped significantly. The AQI was 471 on Friday, the worst this season so far.