- The Supreme Court took serious notice of the worsening air quality in the Delhi-NCR region.
- The Supreme Court will inquire whether the Central Vista project’s ongoing construction activity contributes to dust pollution.
- SC ordered the Delhi government, led by Arvind Kejriwal, to develop a comprehensive strategy for planting trees and saplings in the city.
The Supreme Court expressed concerns on Monday over the increasing level of air pollution in Delhi, despite the imminent threat of COVID-19, and questioned authorities about the actions being taken to tackle the situation.
Taking serious note of the extreme pollution, a special bench of the Supreme Court comprised of CJI NV Ramana and Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant asked the governments of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh to explain the steps they’ve taken to comply with the Commission for Air Quality Management in Delhi-NCR to improve air quality. The court scheduled the next hearing on the subject for December 2, but urged the governments to provide compliance affidavits by December 1.
The bench added that if the state governments do not follow the directives issued by it, the pollution panel, and the central government, it will form a task force to undertake pollution-reduction measures.
Is Central Vista’s construction increasing dust pollution?
The Supreme Court also stated that it will ask the Centre whether the Central Vista project’s ongoing construction activity contributes to dust pollution. According to ANI, the court directed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to explain what actions were done to reduce air pollution produced by the project in the national capital.
Air pollution in Delhi-NCR: Supreme Court expresses concern over rising air pollution levels in Delhi.— ANI (@ANI) November 29, 2021
SC observes that while pollution levels are rising, there is another problem of COVID19. pic.twitter.com/FstDA3ESph
According to the Supreme Court, “We’re trying to figure out how to control air pollution in Delhi, whether it’s through Central Vista or something else. Don’t think we don’t know anything. Don’t flag certain issues to divert attention. Solicitor General will have to reply on this.”
The Supreme Court acknowledged Delhi’s double whammy of rising air pollution and the COVID-19 threat. “The Centre says it is taking steps (to improve air quality), but the pollution levels are increasing. And there is a looming danger of virus… Today also air quality is bad, with the AQI clocking at 419. We have to cope with this (air pollution) and also the virus,” the Supreme Court said.
SC directs Delhi govt to frame tree plantation plan
The Supreme Court ordered the Delhi government, led by Arvind Kejriwal, to develop a comprehensive strategy for planting trees and saplings in the city. The court must receive the plan within 12 weeks. Furthermore, the court ordered the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to obtain clearance from the Chief Forest Conservator before cutting trees for the Phase IV metro extension project.
It should be noted that the Supreme Court last week slammed the Centre and the NCR states, saying that the country’s executive arm is suffering from “policy paralysis” and “inertia” while waiting for the supreme court to intervene to regulate air pollution. The court had directed the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) to “conduct a scientific study of air quality based on available data from past years bearing on reported levels of air pollution.”