SC nod for smog towers, anti-smog guns in Delhi

Apex court passes several directions to reduce air pollution

January 17, 2020 01:35 am | Updated 08:04 am IST - NEW DELHI

Smog in New Delhi (File photo)

Smog in New Delhi (File photo)

The Supreme Court agreed with the Delhi government’s proposal to install a smog tower at Connaught Place within three months even as it passed several directions to reduce air pollution.

“As proposed in the reply of the Delhi government, let the smog tower at Connaught Place be completed by Delhi government as proposed in their reply affidavit,” a Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta ordered on January 13.

The Bench also ordered a smog tower to be installed in Anand Vihar as pointed out by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The court ordered the Delhi government to provide 30 x 30 meters for installation of an experimental tower there within seven days. It said this project would be funded by the Centre even as the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change would monitor it. The court directed the project to be completed in three months.

The court directed that anti-smog guns should be used in Delhi and the National Capital Regions (NCR) at large construction sites, road construction stretches, mining activities, large parking sites on unpaved areas, during large public gatherings, demolition activities and while sprinkling on dust-prone traffic corridors.

The court made it compulsory for authorities to use anti-smog guns in Delhi-NCR at the site of projects that require environmental clearance from the State/Central level and which have a built-up area of more than 20,000 sq. m., including excavation, material handling and other dust-generating activities. The authorities would have to prepare a “pollutor pays” policy to cover the cost of installation of the anti-smog guns.

The court directed the Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan governments to identify plastic, industrial and other toxic waste and ensure they were not burnt but incinerated. Piled-up waste must be removed within six weeks. The court also directed the Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) of the four States to monitor at night and take stringent action against polluting industries.

The court asked the Delhi government to work out a comprehensive plan within three months to have 100% capacity to deal with garbage and wastes. The court had also directed the PCB and the Indian Bureau of Standards to randomly check the quality of water supplied in Delhi and submit a report in one month.

The court ordered penal action against developers in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan found flouting the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules of 2016. It ordered the States to file status reports on the action taken against rogue developers, including how many had been blacklisted. The court sought a report on the facilities for construction and demolition waste recycling in the four States. It asked them to come out with a comprehensive plan on waste management.

The court ordered the authorities of Ghaziabad, Panipat and Meerut to ensure remedial measures are taken in connection with waste pile-ups in certain areas and file a report in a month.

The court asked why Delhi, U.P., Haryana and Punjab should not be ‘saddled’ with the burden to pay compensation for failing to prevent pollution and stubble-burning. It ordered a comprehensive plan to prevent stubble-burning to be placed before it.

The 11-page order wanted a detailed plan for crop residuary management and its use as fertilizer, cattle food and bio fuel. It asked the government to take a final decision on the incentive/disincentive of ₹100/- per quintal and the in-situ farming.

Further, the court directed the Centre, Punjab, Haryana and U.P. governments to prepare a scheme to give access to small and marginal farmers advanced machines like combine harvesters, happy seeders, etc., either free of charge or for a nominal rent.

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