Delhi pollution: National Green Tribunal bans construction, industrial activities till November 14

The NGT directed the sprinkling of water where Particulate Matter (PM) 10 is found to be in excess of 600 micrograms per cubic metre. Photograph:( PTI )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 09, 2017, 07.39 AM (IST)

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has banned the construction and industrial activities in Delhi-NCR till November 14, alarmed over the skyrocketing levels of air pollution in the city

The tribunal pulled up the Delhi Government, Municipal Corporations and neighbouring states, and asked them to see the "pitiable condition" of people in hospitals and the way their lives are being played with.

 "It is shameful for all the parties in this matter on what they're passing on to the next generation," the tribunal observed.

"The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report has shown the extent of danger lurking in the air in Delhi NCR. Yesterday Particulate Matter (PM) 10 levels, supposed to be 100, had touched 986, while the PM 2.5 levels, supposed to be 60, had reached 420. This has been the situation for the past week," the NGT said.

"Even construction work taking place openly isn't being stopped, and when such a situation has ensued now action is being promised," the tribunal added.

Industrial activities cannot be carried about in Delhi till the next hearing on November 14, the NGT said, while also directing all public authorities to depute an officer to monitor the polluting activities.

"All the constitutional authorities and statutory bodies measurably failed to perform their duties. So far as pollution is the concern, it is a joint responsibility of all the stakeholders," the NGT said.

"Articles 21 and 48 of the Constitution mandate that it is the responsibility of governments to make sure that citizens get a clean and conducive environment. The Right to Life is being snatched from people since they're not getting a clean environment," the tribunal observed.

The NGT has also prohibited trucks from outside or within Delhi from transporting any construction material. the tribunal has also banned 10-year-old diesel vehicles and 15-year-old petrol vehicles from entering the national capital.

The tribunal asked the Delhi Government on the steps taken to curtail pollution, the number of challans issued to violators and the number of construction sites where work has been stopped. It also directed the sprinkling of water where Particulate Matter (PM) 10 is found to be in excess of 600 micrograms per cubic metre.

"Why isn't rain artificially being triggered using helicopters," the tribunal asked.

The green tribunal also directed civic bodies to constitute teams to ensure there is no burning of waste in Delhi-NCR. 

The NGT slammed the neighbouring states of Delhi -- Punjab and Haryana -- and raised questions on their seriousness on the prevailing situation.

All pollution control boards of the concerned states have been asked to monitor all parameters. 

The NGT has asked all concerned authorities and pollution control boards to file a status report till the next date of hearing.

State governments should find economically viable solutions to crop burning: Kejriwal

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said today that crop burning would not stop until state governments found "economically viable solutions" to stop crop burning.

He also emphasised that crop burning would only stop if the central government along with the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana came together and "put aside politics".  

"Until state governments don't find, it will not stop," Arvind Kejriwal said.

"The high increase in PM levels in Delhi is not just due to local reasons. People and government of Delhi are ready to take all steps but these steps will not be enough until solution to crop burning is found," the Delhi chief minister said.

"For a month (from mid October to mid November), the whole northern India becomes a gas chamber, not just Delhi," he added.

NHRC notice to Punjab, Haryana on crop burning

Meanwhile, alarmed over the "life-threatening" pollution in Delhi-National Capital Region, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has also issued notices issued to the Centre and governments of Punjab and Haryana on their action plan to tackle the same.  

Yesterday, the National Green Tribunal had pulled up the Delhi government and the Central Pollution Control Board for not issuing orders to shut down construction and industrial activities in the capital despite the worsening air quality.

It also ordered Punjab, UP and Haryana governments to spell out the steps they have taken to prevent crop burning in the states adjacent to the national capital.

The green panel had directed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee to collect ambient air quality samples from different parts of the city and submit an analysis containing details of different pollutants, including particulate matter (PM) 2.5 and 10.

(With inputs from PTI, ANI)