Delhi-NCR Pollution| Show cause notice to Delhi, Rajasthan, UP and Haryana Govts & an extensive list of directions to curb the ‘life threatening” pollution

Supreme Court: The bench of Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta, JJ has issued a long list of directions to curb the Delhi-NCR Pollution after noticing that,

“the air pollution is worsening, and a large number of people suffer as a side effect by various diseases such as cancer, asthma, etc.The life span is also adversely affected.”

Apart from the direction that the decision taken by the High Level Committee constituted by this Court be placed on record along with comprehensive action plan and the action taken thereon so far, here is the gist of the extensive list of directions issued by the Court:

Stubble burning:

  • The Court called for a comprehensive plan and directed that a Crop Residuary Management be prepared, its use inter alia as fertilizer, cattle food and bio fuel be also worked out. It also suggested that the final decision be taken with respect to incentive and disincentive of Rs.100/­ per quintal and the in­situ farming.
  • Central Government, State Governments of Punjab,Haryana and U.P. to prepare a scheme for making available Combine Harvesters, Happy Seeders, Hydraulically Reversible MB Plough, PaddyStraw Chopper, Mulcher, Rotary Slasher, Zero Till Seed Drill and Rotavators and balers especially dedicated to small and marginalfarmers to be made available either free of charge or on nominal rental basis.

(iii). Government of NCT of Delhi/NCR Region and concerned Governments of Haryana and U.P. must file reports with respect to various identified hotspots and steps taken for their management and to clear the environmental hazards created by such hotspots.

Smog Towers:

The SmogTower at Connaught Place be completed by Delhi Government within three months and another Smog Tower be installed at Anand Vihar as pointed out by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) within 3 months.

“Let Delhi Government provide space of 30 x 30 meters for installation of an experimental tower at Anand Vihar within seven days. The project to be funded by the Union Government, however, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is directed to monitor the project. “

Anti­smog guns

Anti­smog gunsto be used in Delhi and NCR region for the following:

  • Large construction sites;
  • Road construction  stretches,  particularly during earth work and compacting;
  • Mining activities;
  • Large parking sites on unpaved areas and during large public gatherings;
  • Demolition activities;
  • Sprinkling on dust­ prone traffic corridors.

“It be made compulsory to make use of anti­ smog guns in Delhi­ NCR in the projects that require environmental clearance from the State/Central level on site having built­ up area of more than 20,000 sq.mts. including excavation,material handling and other dust generating activities. Let an appropriate policy decision be also taken with respect to cost of installation, duly considering the principle  “polluters pay”evolved by this Court.”

Industrial Pollution:

  • The Governments of NCT of Delhi, U.P., Haryana and Rajasthan have to identify the dumped waste of plastic, industrial and other wastes and to ensure that waste is not burnt and is used for processing/incineration and piled up waste is removed on time­ bound basis without fail and report be filed within six weeks.
  • Pollution Control Boards of the aforementioned 4 States will monitor the industrial areas especially at night also and to take stringent action with respect to the industries emitting black smoke from chimneys
  • DST Technical Committee shall consider the proposal for installation of oxy furnace in glass industries in Delhi and NCR within 2 weeks.
  • Details for chemical test methods for smoke emission control in various industrial sectors for meeting prescribed emission norms be worked out.

Construction and demolition:

  • the States have to file a status report regarding compliance with the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016. Let penal action be taken against the developers found flouting the norms.
  • A status report is also to be filed on the penalty imposed and the action taken on the developers for violating the norms regarding construction/demolition activity and whether any developer has been blacklisted.
  • With respect to road construction, there has to be sprinkling of water
  • The States also have to point out the existing facilities of recycling of construction and demolition waste and the deficit of facilities in this regard.

Waste management and burning

  • Compliance of Solid Waste  Management Rules, 2016 be ensured in case of waste burning
  • Government of NCT of Delhi to work out the details with respect to 45% deficit capacity to lift the garbage and waste as there is only 55% capacity available with respect to garbage and waste generated in Delhi within three months to have full (100%) capacity to deal with garbage and wastes.

Vehicular pollution

Action taken be reported with respect to the vehicles found plying on kerosene, checks undertaken and action taken reportbe placed before the Court within a month by the concerned Pollution Control Boards.

Water Pollution

Pollution Control Boards as well as the Indian Bureau of Standards to submit a report of random checking of various samples in Delhi and submit a report in this regard within one month.

A report also to be submitted on the measures taken by them with respect to pouring of sewage and untreated industrial effluents in various rivers and the plan prepared by them and arrangement offunds made by them for the purpose of sewage treatment plants and existing facilities and requirements be pointed out within eight weeks.

Apart from these directions the Court also issued notice to the Governments of NCT of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and U.P. to show cause why they should not be saddled with the compensation for failure of their machinery and the concerned authorities in taking appropriate steps to prevent stubble burning and other pollution being caused.

[MC Mehta v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 29, decided on 13.01.2020]

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