A Robust Mechanism Needs To Be Planned: NGT Tells Officials to curb pollution in Delhi

National Green Tribunal on Tuesday urged the Joint Secretary, MoEF & CC, Chief Secretary, Delhi, and Member Secretary, CPCB to identify the causes and to have advance planned strategies to control Air Pollution Levels in and around Delhi.

Principal Bench of Chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel, on Monday had asked officials to personally remain present today, and apprise on the status of implementation of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) and other measures adopted to control air pollution. The officials made presentations about the steps taken in the matter. The tribunal also gave several suggestions to the authorities. However, since the Supreme Court is seized of the matter, it proposed to take up the matter for consideration thereafter

Tribunal reiterated what it had said in its order passed on Monday, that "Problem of deterioration in air quality is not creation of one day but the result of continuous negligence and apathy in enforcing the law. There are acknowledged gaps in existing undesirable situation and enforcement strategies in place."

Urging authorities to have a comprehensive plan in place, bench said "Preparation of such comprehensive action plan is mandate of the precautionary principle which includes scenario projection by way of forecasting so as to make people aware of impending environment emergency and preparing for such eventualities."

It cited orders passed by it in matters pertaining to crop residue burning, issues of burning of plastic and industrial pollution by industries operating in non-conforming areas and also considered the issue of remedial action against burning and unscientific disposal of garbage. It said "Steps so far taken do not meet the mandate of precautionary principle enforcement of which is part of Right to Life."

It added "While GRAP contemplates response to a grave situation which may arise, the law requires anticipation and preventive action. The past experience shows the deterioration of air quality in the month of October and November is a recurring phenomenon. It is not difficult to identify the causes and to have advance planned strategies to remedy the same. The causes and sources of air pollution may be crop burning, plastic burning, garbage burning, industrial emissions, vehicular emission, C&D waste, and pollution caused by crackers etc. A robust mechanism needs to be planned in the light of expert studies and remedying the failures in satisfactorily handling the situation in the past."

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