The Delhi High Court, on Friday, issued a slew of directions to the States of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, highlighting the urgency of the need to check air pollution arising out of crop burning.
The Court had taken suo motu cognizance of the deteriorating air quality in the Capital and the National Capital Region (NCR). During a recent hearing, the Bench comprising Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Sunil Gaur noted that a major component contributing to air pollution in Delhi during the months of October and March each year is the burning of agricultural waste, including plant residue/stubble while harvesting the Kharif and Rabi crops.
The Bench further took into account the affidavits filed by the States, noting that the “emission of particulate matter from this stubble burning is beyond any acceptable human endurance, or “danger‟ levels”.
It then issued the following directions, opining that the effects of such practice can be “traumatic for most people and catastrophic for some”:
“1. All the States shall implement the respective notifications and directions issued by them under the Air Pollution Act banning the burning of crop residue/paddy straw strictly, in letter and in spirit.
The Court has directed the States and the Centre to file brief affidavits disclosing the measures taken to comply with the order. It has further ordered the Delhi government, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, local bodies of Delhi and the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to file status reports with respect to the latest position regarding enhancement of capacity of waste-to-energy power plants, the provision for fresh sites to accommodate waste disposal through landfills etc. and the steps taken so far with respect to solid waste management and disposal.
The matter has been listed for further directions on 16 October.