New Delhi: Welcoming the NGT's verdict of not permitting vehicles which are more than 15 years old to ply on the city roads, a research and advocacy group on Thursday said the green tribunal should also assess the effectiveness in meeting clean air targets and increase higher degree of stringency.
Terming it as "a step forward in right direction", the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said the ambit of the action plan should also be expanded to the entire national capital region (NCR) for effective impact.
Dismayed at increasing air pollution in the national capital, the National Green Tribunal had yesterday held that all vehicles which were more than 15 years old would not be permitted to ply on the city roads.
It further said that no person shall be permitted to burn plastic or any other material in the open.
"While this is a step forward in right direction, a periodic assessment of the effectiveness of the action plan is needed to ensure peak pollution levels during winter are brought down and the clean air target is met."
"That may require additional and more stringent measures. The ambit of the action plan should also be expanded to the entire national capital region (NCR) of Delhi for effective impact," said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, research and advocacy, CSE.
CSE said the NGT's direction on the 14-point action agenda also include ban on burning of plastic, community surveillance of violation of pollution laws, prohibition on parking on carriageway or tar road, implementation of cycle tracks amongst others.
A bench, headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, had also directed that wherever vehicles of this age are noticed, the concerned authorities shall take appropriate steps in accordance with law including seizure.
CSE said several measures in the action plan including ban on open burning, ban on 15-year-old commercial vehicles and bypassing of transit traffic are already part of the Delhi government's regulations.
"But these have not been enforced well. NGT's intervention can help to ensure effective compliance and enforcement of these measures and more," it said.
CSE said in addition to keeping an eye on the emissions levels of DTC buses, NGT "may" also broaden the scope to give direction to DTC and Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) to improve reliable bus service with adequate route coverage and frequency of bus service that can be monitored and verified.
"These agencies should be made accountable for improving bus service so that along with metro the share of public transport trips can be increased significantly and polluting vehicles can be reduced on roads," the statement said.
The statement said, "More stringent pollution emergency measures may be identified to bring down the peak pollution levels in the city."
CSE said "soft options" have all been exhausted in Delhi and the city needs aggressive and time-bound action to meet clean air standards and reduce public health risk.
The real time official air quality data indicate that at the onset of the winter the particulate pollution levels have started to exceed the standards several times over, it said.