Ahead of a Supreme Court hearing on Wednesday on air pollution, the Union Environment Ministry convened a day long meeting with officials from Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to discuss steps that could be taken to address the root causes.
The Supreme Court on Monday had pulled up both the Centre and the Delhi government and observed that urban factors like construction activities, industry, vehicular exhaust and road dust were the major causes of pollution in the Capital and not farmers' burning stubble in Punjab and Haryana.
A Special Bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana directed the Centre to call an urgent meeting in 24 hours with Punjab, Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to craft urgent and effective anti-pollution measures and their implementation.
Though noting that stubble burning was not broadly a significant contributor to pollution except in October and November, the court asked Punjab, Haryana to “persuade” farmers not to resort to stubble burning for a week.
Officials in the Environment Ministry refused comment on the proceedings of the meeting. The Commission for Air Quality Management, the Central Pollution Control Board are bodies that continuously meet to review air quality in Delhi and adjoining areas. However, pollution last week rose to catastrophic levels with meters recording ‘severe’ levels of pollution.