Diesel cars are the main reason for the alarming rise in pollution level

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre on a public interest writ petition to take immediate and adequate steps to prescribe stringent emission standards on all parameters such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide for both petrol and diesel vehicles so as to control and reduce air pollution and protect the health and well-being of citizens.

A three-Judge Bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justices Ibrahim Kalifulla and Vikramajit Sen issued notice on the petition filed by Dr. Arvind Gupta, economist, highlighting the pollution being caused by diesel vehicles. In his petition, he said “the data available from the WHO shows that Indian cities are almost 10 times more polluted than other cities of the world which is a serious infraction of the fundamental rights of the citizens of India. WHO estimates that more than two million people die every year from breathing in tiny particles present in polluted air. PM10 particles, which are particles of 10 micrometers or less, can penetrate into the lungs and may enter the bloodstream and cause heart disease, lung cancer, asthma and acute lower respiratory infections.”

It said “the WHO Air Quality Guidelines for Particulate Matter 2005 in its question and answer actually records New Delhi along with Karachi, Kathmandu and Beijing as the most polluted cities in the world. The prime culprit for this alarming rise in the levels of RSPM and other pollutants is the extensive use of diesel fired car engines which have proliferated extensively on Indian roads, thanks to the encouragement of Government policies. The executive and the legislature have failed in their duties in safeguarding the fundamental rights of the citizens to a pollution-free environment.”

The petitioner said: “It is a well known fact that diesel is one of the dirtiest of all motor transportation fuels. He sought a direction for taking adequate steps immediately to prescribe emission standards in tune with EURO V on all parameters for diesel and petrol vehicles uniformly throughout India.