New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Saturday November 13 took a serious view of the severe air pollution in Delhi-NCR and suggested that if needed the government can declare a two-day lockdown to bring down the levels, which has been caused by stubble burning, vehicles, firecrackers, industries, dust.
At the outset, a bench headed by Chief Justice N. V. Ramana told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, that the “situation is very bad… In the house we are wearing masks. It is a bad situation.”
“How to control air pollution in Delhi, two days lockdown or what. How will people live in Delhi?” queried the Chief Justice.
Mehta began the argument detailing steps taken by the air quality management commission to abate air pollution in NCR and adjoining areas, which included steps taken to address agricultural stubble burning.
The bench also comprising Justices D. Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant said instead of blaming the farmers, all state governments and the Centre should come together to address the air pollution issue.
The Chief Justice noted that stubble burning by farmers is only responsible for 25 per cent of the pollution, and the remaining 75 per cent pollution was from firecracker burning, vehicular pollution, dust.
Chief Justice told Mehta, “Where is the effective mechanism to control firecrackers, vehicular pollution. Look at the pollution level,” to which the latter said that both the Centre and state governments are working together to address the issue.
The Chief Justice added, “We have nothing to do, governments need burning solutions, how to control. Need two to three days short term plans to control pollution.”
Mehta clarified that he is not saying that only farmers are responsible for the severe air pollution which has engulfed Delhi-NCR.
Justice Chandrachud pointed out that the Delhi government has opened schools and cited the AIIMS Director’s remark that it is a triple whammy – pollution, Covid, and dengue.
“Their lungs are exposed,” he added.
The top court told the Centre and the Delhi government to inform it on Monday the decisions taken to take emergency steps to address severe air pollution in the capital.
The apex court was hearing a plea by a minor boy seeking directions against stubble burning and other factors associated with high pollution levels in Delhi-NCR.