Implement clean air programme in Delhi first: SC

Face mask has become a must for people going outdoors due to alarming air pollution in Delhi-NCR .

Face mask has become a must for people going outdoors due to alarming air pollution in Delhi-NCR .   | Photo Credit: V_Sudershan

Comprehensive action plan to be notified in its entirety within 4 weeks, says Additional Solicitor General

The Supreme Court asked the government on Thursday to consider implementing the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) in Delhi first as the people here are “struggling” due to pollution.

A Bench comprising Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta said, “You [government] have lots of programmes but you cannot implement them. You cannot implement the programmes in Delhi and you are talking about pan-India. You, at least implement it [NCAP] in Delhi first.”

‘Delhi a priority’

“We are struggling in Delhi for years due to pollution. You implement the NCAP here at least,” the Bench remarked.

When the Bench referred to a recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the most polluted cities in the world, Additional Solicitor General A.N.S. Nadkarni said though the NCAP would cover 100 cities in India, but Delhi was a “priority”.

Mr. Nadkarni said the comprehensive action plan to tackle air pollution would be notified in its entirety within four weeks.

He also said that parts of the action plan have already been implemented in Delhi-NCR.

ECC fund utilisation

The NCAP is aimed at tackling the air pollution problem in 100 cities across the country.

During the day, the Bench also observed that the Delhi government could use the funds collected from the environment compensation charge (ECC) for purchasing remote-sensing machines which would detect pollution emitted from diesel vehicles plying on the roads here.

The Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) suggested that remote-sensing technology was “revolutionary” and it was successfully used in China and Hong Kong to tackle the pollution problem.

Advocate Aparajita Singh, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae, said the EPCA’s report on steps to be taken to strengthen pollution under control (PUC) mechanism has recommended the use of remote-sensing machines, which was already being used in Kolkata as a pilot project.

The advocate said as far as petrol vehicles were concerned, the existing PUC measures were optimum but for diesel vehicles the remote sensing technology should be used.

The amicus also said that this machine not only detects pollution emitted from diesel vehicles, it also scans the number plate, and owner of vehicles emitting pollutants could be sent notice regarding this.

The top court has sought a response from the government on the issue.

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Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 4:31:18 AM |

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