With smog engulfing Delhi and NCR for days together, the National Green Tribunal on Thursday banned all construction activities in the region, while directing all agencies concerned to encourage public transport, check stubble burning and settle dust by sprinkling water using helicopters or fire brigade across Delhi.
While banning construction work till November 14, the bench ensured that the daily wagers are paid their wages and the order does not in any way affect them adversely.
A bench of NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, judicial member Jawad Rahim and expert member Bikram Singh Sajwan passed a string of directions while reiterating the directions passed exactly a year ago to counter air pollution in Delhi and NCR in case titled Vardhman Kaushik vs Union of India.
Thursday's directions come in five petitions titled Vardhaman Kaushik vs Union of India & Ors; Sanjay Kulshrestha vs Union of India & Ors; Supreme Court Women Lawyers’ Association vs Union of India & Ors; Diya Kapur & Ors vs Union of India & Ors, and Mahendra Pandey vs Govt of NCT of Delhi & Ors.
Before passing the directions, the bench noted, "For today PM10 value is declared to be 1136 micro grams per cubic meter, against the prescribed value 100 micro grams per cubic meter and PM2.5 is 760 micro grams per cubic meter against the prescribed value of 60 micro grams per cubic meter as per Delhi Pollution Control Committee."
Govt bodies, citizens can't be mere spectators
Ired at the severely poor quality of air despite its repeated directions, the tribunal said, "No party, statutory bodies or even the citizens can be a mere spectators to such environmental crisis and there has to be concerted effort in discharging of constitutional and statutory duty by all concerned to ensure that the people do not suffer from health hazards because of non-performance from the concerned quarters.
"The doctrine of preventive and precautionary principle with greater emphasis on inter generational equity has been violated, ignored at every relevant stages."
The bench was dismayed that the agencies had not bothered to even analyse the samples for level of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide, which are very hazardous, and directed that the samples be tested for all such parameters and results placed before bench on the next date of hearing.
Last year's order remain unexecuted
The bench had passed comprehensive directions covering vehicular pollution, pollution caused by construction activities and others, and banned all vehicles over 15 years old from plying in Delhi and even the running of engines while halting at red lights.
"The Tribunal had passed a detailed judgment on 10th November, 2016 and had clearly postulated the steps that were required to be taken on long term and short term basis keeping in view the precautionary principle to ensure that the ill-effects and adverse impact of polluted ambient air quality in the previous year is not repeated in the year 2017," it said.
“However, this remains unexecuted and non-complied. The judgment has been complied with only in default," it noted Thursday.
Thursday's directions cover Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad, Sonipat, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Palwal, Bahadur Garh and Manesar.
Here are some of the directions passed by the bench on Thursday:
Read the Order Here