File photo: Supreme Court of India Photograph:( ANI )
Responding to the plea filed by activists, the apex court said that people of India are losing "precious years" due to air pollution, adding that this cannot be allowed in a "civilised" country.
To improve the worsening air quality in the national capital, the Supreme Court ordered a complete halt to stubble burning around Delhi. Stubble burning is regarded as one of the biggest contributors to air pollution and is generally done during this time of the year.
Responding to the plea filed by activists, the apex court said that people of India are losing "precious years" due to air pollution, adding that this cannot be allowed in a "civilised" country, reports AFP.
The Supreme Court also added that the entire police administration and the police department will be held liable if its latest directions are not followed.
Earlier on Tuesday, Delhi's air quality showed signs of improvement as it moved to "very poor" from the "severe" category. As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recordings, Delhi's overall air quality was marked at 397, which falls under the "very poor" category. Delhi's pollution levels started dropping down marginally later on Monday due to an increase in wind speed.
The IMD predicted light rains on November 7 in Delhi which can further improve the air quality.
Northern India, every year during this time faces the menace of smog, due to stubble burning, bursting of crackers, and construction activities as the cooler air gets mixed with pollutants from these activities that make the air toxic and difficult to breathe.
On Monday, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal implemented the odd-even rationing scheme, in which cars with odd and even number plates are allowed to hit streets on alternate days. Kejriwal described the first day of the scheme as a success adding that nearly 15 lakh cars were off the road which prevented pollution and traffic.
However, Vijay Goel, a member of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) defied the odd-even rules and called the scheme an election gimmick. Delhi is due for the legislative elections next year.
So far, steps such as banning construction activities in Delhi, parking an air purifier vehicle in front of Taj Mahal have been taken to reduce air pollution levels. Delhi schools are also closed until Wednesday.
As per a report by WHO, 14 Indian cities are a part of 15 most polluted cities in the world, including Delhi. Around 10 lakh people die each year in India due to pollution.