The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the city government to issue an advisory to public looking to participate in Sunday’s half-marathon in the capital about the air pollution level, which it said was “four times more than the prescribed standard”.
“Anyone with respiratory or cardiac disease should opt out. You shouldn’t be running right now. You (government) should issue an advisory,” a bench of Justice BD Ahmed and Justice Jayant Nath said.
Noting that air pollution levels are still “hazardous”, the bench also passed a slew of directions.
It directed the municipal corporations to ensure there are no fire in the three landfill sites – Ghazipur, Okhla and Bhalswa – as they are a “serious health hazards” as they may produce particulate matter like PM 2.5 and PM 10 apart from carcinogens.
The order came after senior advocate Kailash Vasdev, who is assisting the court in the case as amicus curiae, showed photograph of fires burning in Bhalswa landfill site.
Punjab, in an affidavit, told the court that it alone produces 17 million tonnes of paddy straw each year, bulk of which is burned. Vasudev said this was one of the major reasons for recent spike in air pollution in Delhi.
The bench expressed displeasure at Punjab saying it “still cannot be in denial mode” regarding its contribution to air pollution in the capital. It directed Punjab to file an affidavit, with specific timeline, indicating a clear cut action plan to “completely eliminate” stubble burning next year.
Taking “judicial note” of rubble and debris not cleared from construction site after completion of work, the court directed the municipal corporations, DDA and Public Works Department (PWD) to ensure that each site is kept debris free.
Vasdev informed the court that 1,85,000 taxis were operating in the city currently and out of which almost 88,623 were running on diesel. Of these 40,000 were city-based while the remaining were all India permit taxis coming from other states.
Following this, the bench directed neighbouring states of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to come up with a clear cut action plan to “streamline” granting of all India permits to inter-state cabs so that diesel taxis can be turned to CNG.
The court was hearing a petition initiated by it on the issue of alarming levels of air pollution in the national capital. It has posted the matter for further hearing on November 25.