The Delhi High Court on Thursday, expressing serious concern on the increasing air pollution in the capital “akin to living in a gas chamber”, asked the central and city government to act strongly to curb pollution and present “comprehensive action” plans to combat it.
Saying pollution levels in Delhi have reached “alarming levels”, a division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva directed them to file comprehensive action plans saying it is the need of the hour, and termed the plans filed by the union environment ministry and Delhi government “not comprehensive”.
Saying living in such a overly populated city is similar to “living in a gas chamber”, the bench said: “There must be action plan along with timeline and responsibilities of each authority.”
The court posted the matter for December 21.
Acting on an application filed before the bench to provide protective gear or masks to traffic police who are directly exposed to outdoor air pollution all through the day which has beem affecting their health, it asked the department to ensure protective masks be given to them.
The court also said two major causes of air pollution in Delhi were “dust particles” and “vehicular emissions”. It asked the central and Delhi governments to ensure no construction of building or roads be carried out in Delhi without first ensuring that generation of dust was minimised.
The Delhi government should to ensure that garbage, plastics and leaves are not burned by people in the open, as was directed by the National Green Tribunal, said the court. It also directed the city administration to publicise in print, audio and visual media that such practices are prohibited.
“Both the governments should ensure that there is no construction activities carried out in Delhi without ensuring that dust is minimised,” it said.
“Since the SDMs (sub-divisional magistrates) and tehsildars are authorised for surprise visit to check the construction work with regard to dust generation from construction sites and burning of leaves and garbage, the Delhi government shall file an affidavit on action taken by them,” said the court.
The court was hearing a PIL initiated by it on the issue of increasing air pollution in national capital.