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NGT pulls up Centre, Delhi govt on air pollution


New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday pulled up the Delhi government and the Centre over the alarming situation of pollution and deteriorating Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital.

Reprimanding the Centre and the Delhi government, the Principal Bench of the Tribunal headed by Justice A.K. Goyal, asked: “Why has the government not been able to control this?…Now, we are running here and there and no sustaining efforts are being made at all.”

The Tribunal said the government of India “must find the best possible solutions” to tackle the problem of stubble burning in the country.

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Giving its own set of solutions, the bench said: “Can there be community programmes to educate people about the hazards and alternatives to stubble burning? Make use of documentaries and films to spread awareness about pollution. Make use of Doordarshan. Create Self Help Groups (SGHs) to educate farmers about the hazards of stubble burning.”

The Centre told the court that efforts were on to tackle the emergency-like situation, which was being monitored at the highest levels. “To tackle the dust, water sprinklers and paving and greening of the city is needed,” it said.

Responding to the submissions, the bench said, “These steps are well known and the remedies too, but the question is if all this is being done.”

The bench had on Monday summoned officials of the Delhi government, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and the Ministry of Environment and Forests to appear before it.

But just before it began hearing on Tuesday morning, the toxic smog over Delhi lifted with bright sunshine and wind speeds aiding dispersion of pollutants, and pollution levels coming down considerably from “severe” to “very poor” category after almost a week.

According to Safar India, the overall air quality index in Delhi has hit 381, much below the 600 plus levels in the last few days.

Even the main pollutant levels have dropped with PM 10 at 307 in the poor category and PM 2.5 at 221 in the very poor category.

This comes a relief not just to the population grappling with toxic air but also to policymakers struggling to find ways the health emergency.


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