Air pollution in the national capital is of an “emergency nature”, the Delhi High Court on Monday observed and said such a situation would not have arisen if the authorities had implemented laws and rules in place to prevent environmental degradation.
A bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva was of the view that while legislations were in place for ensuring maintenance of air quality levels, individuals and departments tasked to enforce the rules “have not done their work”.
The bench directed officers of all concerned authorities, including Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), that “all the rules have to be followed to the ‘t’ as the situation today is of an emergency nature”.
“This situation would not have arisen if all authorities had implemented the rules,” the court said.
The court referred to particulate matter -- PM 2.5 and PM 10 -- and said as per the statutory norms their levels are not to exceed 60 microgram per cubic meter per day and 100 microgram per cubic meter per day, respectively. However, as per DPCC monitoring stations, their levels are always far in excess of the 400-500 range.
It directed DPCC, represented by advocate Sanjeev Ralli, to “analyse data from 2011 onwards and to provide us a monthly average chart of each pollutant.”
Another exercise the panel has been directed to carry out is to give a weekly chart of the pollutants during the months from October to February for all the years from 2011 to 2015. DPCC has also been asked to provide the court with details of action taken by it, against any violations, in the last five years.
Meanwhile, on the issue of traffic management to reduce the timings of idling vehicles, the court observed that despite its direction for zero tolerance towards violation of rules, especially by people who jump onto other carriageways to get ahead during traffic snarls, the police was doing nothing.
“People in Delhi need to be disciplined. Send anyone who changes carriageways to turnaround and go in the opposite direction from which they came, as they do in Mumbai,” the bench said while hearing a PIL initiated by it on the issue of increasing air pollution in Delhi.
Delhi Traffic Police, in an affidavit, told the court that it had identified 14 areas in the city which were heavily congested and that, in those places, it had observed zero tolerance for violation of rules.