SC expresses grave concern amid rising air pollution, directs Delhi govt to frame tree plantation plan
The court directed governments of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab to immediately comply with all the directions issued by the Commission for Air Quality Management in the region.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday expressing concern over the rising level of air pollution in Delhi asked the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to take permission from the chief conservator of forests before cutting trees to make way for the construction of the fourth phase expansion of metros. The top court also warned against the looming danger of Covid-19 and its new variant Omicron.
The apex court observed, “The Centre says it is taking steps (to improve air quality), but the pollution levels are increasing. And there is a looming danger of virus... Today also air quality is bad, with the AQI clocking at 419. We have to cope with this (air pollution) and also the virus.”
The court directed governments of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab to immediately comply with all the directions issued by the Commission for Air Quality Management in the region. The apex court sought compliance reports from all the states and will hear the matter next on Thursday.
A Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant directed the Delhi government to frame a comprehensive plan planting of trees and saplings in the national capital and submit the same before it within 12 weeks.
Taking serious note of extreme pollution, the Supreme Court said it will ask the Centre whether continuing construction work at the Central Vista project is adding to dust pollution. The court asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to explain what steps were taken to curb air pollution caused by the project in the national capital, ANI reported.
“We're struggling how to control air pollution in Delhi, whether its Central Vista or anything else. Don't think we don't know anything. Don't flag certain issues to divert attention. Solicitor General will have to reply on this,” the Supreme Court said.
The air quality in the national capital on Monday morning remained in the ‘very poor’ category with overall air quality index (AQI) at 370, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).
Gurugram and Noida recorded AQI of 369 and 391, respectively, both in the ‘very poor’ categories.