Delhi's choking air quality is health 'murder': Supreme Court's stern warning
The court has called upon the central government to convene a meeting with the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, and Delhi to explore solutions for curbing stubble burning. Vehicular emissions, another key contributor to Delhi's air pollution, will also be considered.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday (November 7) emphasized that air pollution in Delhi should not be turned into a political battle and stated that the deteriorating air quality is responsible for the "murder of people's health." The court pointed out that the burning of crop residue in neighbouring states, including Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan, is a major factor behind the severe air pollution in Delhi during the winter months.
It has urged the state governments to take immediate action to prevent stubble burning, which contributes significantly to the issue. The top court did not spare the Delhi government, stating, "Delhi government also must be responsible. There are many buses running that pollute and run at half capacity. You have to attend to the problem."
The bench comprising Justice SK Kaul and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia has scheduled the matter for further discussion on Friday. The court has called upon the central government to convene a meeting with the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, and Delhi to explore solutions for curbing stubble burning. Vehicular emissions, another key contributor to Delhi's air pollution, will also be considered.
This case was brought before the court to address the hazardous air quality in the national capital, which has consistently remained in the 'severe' category over the past few days. According to data from the Central Pollution Control Board, several areas in Delhi reported an Air Quality Index (AQI) of over 400, four times higher than the acceptable air quality level.
Advocate Aparajita Singh, representing the petitioner, emphasized that the farm fires in Punjab have not been adequately controlled and that stubble burning is the primary factor behind Delhi's deteriorating air quality. The court expressed its concern, stating that Delhi "cannot continue like this."
Senior Advocate Gopal Shankaranarayan, also representing the petitioners, pointed out that the case has been under consideration since 2017, and several orders have been issued.
Additionally, the court encouraged Punjab and the central government to explore alternative crops to paddy, as paddy cultivation is negatively impacting the state's water table.