Taking note of toxic air choking the national capital, the Supreme Court on Friday pulled up the Delhi government over delay in tackling pollution.
As the air quality index stood at 465 at 1.30 pm on Friday with a thick layer of smog engulfing Delhi for the fourth consecutive day, the Supreme expressed concern while it observed that the Odd-Even scheme was not working.
“Delhi is suffering badly, the Air Quality Index (AQI) is almost 600 even today. How do people breathe?” the Supreme Court asked the Delhi government. “Odd-Even may not be the solution to control air pollution,” the Supreme Court said. The Supreme Court told the government to take effective steps and clear 13 pollution hotspots of pollutants.
Cars constitute only 3% of pollution: CPCB to SC
The Central Pollution Control Board also told the Supreme Court that while cars were contributing 3 per cent to pollution levels in Delhi, all vehicles combined contributed 28 per cent.
To this, the Supreme Court said, “Odd-even may not be a permanent solution, especially when the CPCB says cars constitute 3 per cent of pollution levels. Garbage dumping, construction wastes and road dust are also major contributors to pollution levels.”
Odd-even helped in reducing pollution levels by 5-15 %: Delhi govt
On being asked if the odd-even had brought relief from pollution, the Delhi government earlier told the Supreme Court that pollution levels are reduced by 5-15 per cent due to the scheme. The Delhi government, however, said the result will be better if no exemption is given under the scheme.
“The real culprit of Delhi pollution is stubble burning. Last year no study was done on the impact of Odd-Even,” the Delhi government said.
While hearing the matter, the Supreme Court observed that attempts can be made to control pollution, but nature is beyond this control. “This is what happens when nature is misused.”
Chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, UP and Delhi summoned
The Supreme Court on Friday also summoned chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, UP and Delhi over pollution in Delhi-NCR.
The court expressed concern that despite reduction in stubble burning, pollution in Delhi is worse. The three states and the national capital have been asked to file an affidavit on steps taken so far by November 25.
Delhi govt has also been asked to give suggestions on what to do about garbage burning.