The Supreme Court today summoned Chief Secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to know about steps taken by them to reduce air pollution in Delhi-NCR.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta said effective steps must be taken and 13 pollution hot-spots in Delhi should be cleared of pollutants.
The apex court questioned the Delhi Government over granting exemptions, including two and three-wheelers, during its odd-even scheme and said that pollution level in Delhi is increasing in spite of the vehicle rotation scheme being in force. It also expressed concern that despite the reduction in stubble burning, pollution levels in Delhi are worse.
The Delhi government told the top court that its odd-even scheme has helped in reducing pollution and the real culprit behind the region’s pollution is stubble burning. The Centre also told the bench that it is examining the feasibility of putting up smog towers to reduce pollution in Delhi.
Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar today said that the joint cooperation of all agencies is needed to fix the issue. Talking to reporters in New Delhi, Mr Javadekar said, Government is very serious about the issue of pollution and for the first time, Government has recognized the concept of air shade.
He said, it is not Delhi’s geographical boundary, it is the air shade which has impacted. The Minister said, the cooperation of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi Government, three MCDs and NDMC, DDA and all other agencies is required to fix it.
Meanwhile, the air quality in the national capital continues to remain in the severe category for the fourth consecutive day today. According to the Central Pollution Control Board, the Air Quality Index was recorded at 463 this evening which falls under the severe category.
The Air Quality Index of the adjoining areas of Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Noida, Gurugram and others have also shown a deteriorating air quality as they fall under the severe category. Schools in Delhi remained closed today as the thick smog is restricting most of the children indoors.
The high pollution can be attributed to low wind speed, which has led to stagnation of pollutants in the air and slowed down the dispersion process.