The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday asked the road transport and highways ministry to explain what is causing Delhi’s air pollution after the ministry submitted an affidavit saying vehicular emissions are to blame for only 18.5% of the city’s highly toxic air.
“No one is responsible for any pollution, it seems. Everyone is justifying their actions. People are making open declarations saying that the only way to live well is to leave Delhi. Is this the image we want to project?” NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar said.
He also directed the Union transport ministry to file a reply on Tuesday. “The Ministry of Transport must tell us tomorrow (Tuesday) why Delhi is polluted if vehicles are not polluting it.”
The affidavit was filed by the transport ministry to oppose the ban on diesel vehicles over 10 years old. In May, the NGT had stayed the ban order till July 13.
Reacting to the affidavit, applicants of a petition under which the ban was issued pointed out that taking diesel vehicles over 10 years old off Delhi roads was crucial as emission standards were more relaxed a decade ago. This means that vehicles manufactured then, even if maintained well now, will be more polluting than the new ones.
The petitioners also pointed out that the ministry’s comparison of phase-out rules in India with those in the Western was erroneous since emission norms abroad were much more stringent 10-15 years ago.