Thick smog, dark sky, and gloomy days. Does this sound like an apocalyptic scene freshly brewed out of a Zombie movie to you? It might not if you are living in Delhi. Delhiites are currently yearning for fresh air. Air purifiers and masks, too, are unable to come to the rescue of the residents of the Capital, who are left with no choice but to coop up in their homes.
With the air pollution rising continuously, hearing a PIL filed in the Supreme Court on Saturday, Chief Justice (CJI) NV Ramana has suggested the central government take other measures including implementing a two-day lockdown in Delhi.
The worsening situation of Delhi-NCR
According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the air quality index (AQI) in Delhi reached a very poor level i.e. 499 in the early hours of Saturday.
Similarly, in Noida, it was 772. This has reduced the visibility to 200-500 meters in the vicinity of Qutub Minar, Lotus Temple, Akshardham Temple. Apart from this, people are also having trouble breathing. The situation is deteriorating continuously.
A student has filed a public interest litigation
In view of the increasing pollution in Delhi, student Aditya Dubey had filed public interest litigation through advocate Nikhil Jain.
In this, there has been a demand for court monitoring of the Air Quality Management Commission, accusing the government of being negligent in dealing with air pollution.
It has been said in the petition that there is a danger to the lives of the people due to the inaction of the commission. The work of the commission is still going on only on paper.
Supreme Court asks about the steps that have been taken to stop pollution
According to NDTV, a bench of CJI N V Ramana, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Surya Kant asked the Delhi government what steps have been taken to check pollution. Also, they have been asked to file an affidavit in this regard. On this, the Delhi government said that an affidavit is being prepared.
The CJI said, “You tell us how do you plan to take the emergency measures? Two-day lockdown? What is your plan on lowering the AQI (Air Quality Index) levels?”
The situation worsened due to stubble burning in Punjab – Mehta
Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta said, “We are taking steps to stop stubble burning, but the situation has worsened due to stubble burning in Punjab for five-six days. The Punjab government should take steps on this.”
To this, the Supreme Court said, “Your projection is as if farmers are only responsible. What about steps taken to contain the pollution in Delhi?”
CJI suggests 2-day lockdown
CJI N V Ramana said, “Why doesn’t the Center take stubble from farmers and give it to industries? Give us information about some districts and societies where stubble management is being done.”
Expressing concern over the pollution situation in Delhi, he said, “Do you know how bad the situation is? People have to wear masks even at home… Think of a two-day lockdown… Reports said air is ‘severe’ in Delhi and may become worse in another two or three days… You have to take immediate measures… We should be in a position to feel better in the next few days… You tell us how you are going to control this situation,”
Supreme Court says that the pollution level will further rise
The Supreme Court said that the air quality in Delhi is in the ‘severe’ category and it will go up further in the next two to three days. There should be something that makes people feel better in two-three days.
To this, Mehta said that today itself is a joint meeting. Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi are all cooperating.
On this, the court said that to prevent stubble burning, the government should also consider other causes of pollution.
Delhi tops the list of most polluted cities in the world
Switzerland-based climate group IQAir’s air quality and pollution city tracking service has released its list of the world’s most polluted cities. In this, the capital Delhi is at the first position with 556 AQI, Kolkata is fourth and Mumbai is at the sixth position.