To reduce the level of air pollution in the Capital caused by the burning of farm crop stubble in neighbouring states, the Delhi High Court on Thursday directed Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan to ensure the practice is prevented in their states.
Each year, around the month of October and November, Delhi witness an increase in air pollution level. The Delhi government has claimed that this is a result of burning farm crop residue, a practice that is banned as per law, in the neighbouring states.
A bench of justices BD Ahmed and Ashutosh Kumar also cautioned the chief secretaries of the four states that they will be held responsible if the practice was not put to a stop.
The National Green Tribunal and the Delhi high court have repeatedly directed authorities to prevent burning of crop stubble.
However, this has not been followed in “letter and spirit,” the court said asking the four state governments to submit an “action taken report on work done to ensure that agricultural crop residue burning was stopped.”
The court said, “Each year, Delhi is engulfed in a haze in mid-October, which results in heavy pollution. “The affects of which are felt by children and adults who develop respiratory problems. It also manifests itself into long-term ailments that may reduce the longevity of citizens.”
Also, the bench directed Delhi government to analyse reports of pollution monitoring centres across the Capital that are run by Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi Pollution Control Board and Ministry of Earth Sciences and submit a report.
The court also asked for air pollution data for October and November and a comparison chart of this year’s data with the previous year.
Delhi government had blamed the rise in air pollution in the capital around October and November to burning of crop stubble in neighbouring states. It had shown a NASA report to substantiate its claim.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation initiated by it on the issue of air pollution in the national capital. The bench has posted the matter for further hearing on October 28.