A day after the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) rang the alarm bells over the increase in pollution levels in the Capital, a team of officials from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on Friday collected air samples from inside the Supreme Court to check if the particulate matter was above the normal level.
The SC registry officials said the CPCB team collected samples from four places, including that of the chief justice’s courtroom.
Sources said the exercise was being carried out at the instructions of Chief Justice TS Thakur, who sought to examine the pollution level within the top court premises in view of the growing number of cars that troop in and out of the complex.
Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) officials said that on Mondays and Fridays, when courts take up fresh cases, the number of vehicles going to the top court is over 5,000. On the remaining three days, about 300 vehicles are parked inside the court premises.
“We have initiated an exercise for conducting a study on the pollution level in the court premises. The CPCB is doing the job, the results are awaited,” a senior official from SC registry told HT.
Recently, the SC bench headed by former Chief Justice HL Dattu had ordered imposition of environment surcharge of `700 to `1400 on trucks entering Delhi. “We shall invoke special powers to save the people of Delhi from pollution,” the bench had remarked when the toll-tax operator opposed the levy of the cess.
On Wednesday the Delhi high court too had asked the Union environment ministry to consider imposing cess not only on vehicles entering or passing through Delhi but also the National Capital Region(NCR) such as Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad and Gurgaon. It also observed that living in Delhi was akin to living in a gas chamber.
CSE has painted a grim picture of Delhi’s toxic air, saying there has been a “seven-fold increase” in Delhi’s air pollution since October. While the smog cover was thin on Thursday, real-time exposure readings of nearly all monitoring stations put the levels of the PM10 and the finer PM2.5 particles at “very poor”. Vehicular emissions and burning of leaves combine with winter weather to form a deadly mix of air in the Capital, which last year beat Beijing as the world’s most polluted city in WHO rankings.