New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to devise a common minimum graded response to growing air pollution in Delhi NCR.
Hearing a public interest litigation filed by Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), a bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur expressed great concern over the alarming levels of pollution in the national capital region.
Terming it as a public health emergency, the court asked the Centre to come with a disaster response mechanism that will kick -in when air pollution level begins to increase.
Called the common minimum graded response will come into action at different levels. For e.g when air pollution level becomes double of the permissible limits then should all schools be shut down and when it goes further up should vehicular movement restricted etc.
Asking the Centre to apprise it about the policy, if any, to tackle the issue of rising, the court gave 48 hours to the central government to submit before it the plan.
The court will take up the issue for further hearing on November 10 and is likely to pass a detailed order after that.
The apex court also directed the Delhi government to ensure that it orders regarding the cleaning of streets and halting of construction activities should be complied with. The state government responded by saying that they ensure compliance of court orders on the matter.
Speaking to reporters Sunita Narain of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), who is also a member of EPCA said that the Supreme Court wants concerned governments to take strong steps to tackle air pollution in Delhi.
Narain said that a common minimum graded response should be the way forward and added the similar systems are in place in cities like Beijing and Paris, among others.