Living In Delhi Like Living In A Gas Chamber, Observes High Court

04/12/2015 9:53 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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NEW DELHI, INDIA - JUNE 4: School children of Suraj Memorial High School wears an oxygen masks to raise awareness regarding the dangers of air pollution on the eve of World Environment Day at the IIT Red Light crossing on June 4, 2015 in New Delhi, India. The WHO study found New Delhi to have the dirtiest air, with an annual average of 153 micrograms of small particulates, known as PM2.5, per cubic metre.(Photo by Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- Observing that the current air pollution levels in the national capital have reached "alarming" proportions and it was akin to "living in a gas chamber", the Delhi High Court today directed the Centre and city government to present comprehensive action plans to combat it.

A bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva termed the action plans filed by the environment ministry and Delhi government as "not comprehensive" as they did not contain specific responsibilities of each authority and the timeline for carrying them out.

It directed them to file comprehensive action plans, which are the need of the hour, by the next date of hearing on December 21.

The court also said two major causes of air pollution in Delhi were dust particles and vehicular emissions and directed the Centre and city governments to ensure no construction of building or roads takes place without first ensuring that generation of dust was minimised.

It also directed the Delhi government to ensure that garbage and leaves are not burned by people in the open, as was directed by the National Green Tribunal, and directed the city administration to publicise in print, audio and visual media that such practices are prohibited.

The court directed the city government to seek action taken reports from sub-divisional magistrates and tehsildars who have been tasked with carrying out surprise inspections with regard to dust generation from construction sites and burning of leaves and garbage.

On emissions from idling vehicles and traffic congestion, police told the court it has identified 14 areas which were seriously congested and decongested them significantly by deploying more personnel and putting up plastic bollards to segregate carriageways and regulate flow of traffic.

With regard to yellow line violations, the court directed traffic police to ensure there was zero tolerance for such incidents and to ensure proper lane driving in Delhi.

"Publicise there would be strict action and fines for violations," it said while hearing a PIL initiated by it on the issue of increasing air pollution in Delhi.

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