immediate remedial action for severe air quality index

National Green Tribunal: In a suo-motu cognizance of the severe air quality index in various cities, the three member bench of Prakash Shrivastava (Chairperson), Sudhir Agarwal (Judicial Member) and Dr. A. Senthil Vel (Expert Member) directed the Chief Secretaries of the States concerned where Air quality was very poor and severe to take immediate remedial action.

The Air Quality Bulletins of Central Pollution Control Board (‘CPCB’) showed that there are various cities where the air quality index has dipped to ‘very poor’ or even to ‘severe’ stage. The Tribunal perused the air quality index of 01-11-2023 which disclosed that in Hanumangarh, Fatehabad, Hisar, the air quality had dipped to the ‘severe’ level, in respect of Bahadurgarh, Biwani, Charkhi Dadri, Faridabad, Greater Noida, Kaithal, Noida, Rohtak and Sri Ganganagar apart from Delhi, the air quality was at ‘very poor’ level and in respect of Amritsar, Ankleshwar, Baddi, Balllabgarh, Bathinda, Bharatpur, Bhiwadi, Bhopal, the air quality had dipped to ‘poor’ level.

The Tribunal stated that the power of the Tribunal to take suo-motu cognizance of the matter was upheld by the Supreme Court in Municipal Corpn. of Greater Mumbai v. Ankita Sinha, (2022) 13 SCC 401.

The Tribunal said that the condition of air quality in these cities was serious, hence, immediate action was required for prevention and control of the air pollution in these cities so as to ensure better air quality to the residents.

Further, the Tribunal issued notice to the Chief Secretaries of the States concerned; Chairman, Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM); Member Secretary, CPCB and National Task Force through its head Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The Tribunal also directed the Chief Secretaries of the States concerned to take immediate remedial action and submit action taken report on or before 10-11-2023.

[In re: Air Quality Index in various Cities, 2023 SCC OnLine NGT 403, Order dated: 03-11-2023]

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