GOVERNMENT OF INDIA PROPOSES PLANS FOR CURBING AIR POLLUTION IN DELHI-NCR AND OTHER CITIES

The Government of India has recently held a high-level Meeting on 03-11-2019 with the States of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi to discuss about measures to tackle increasing air pollution levels in the Delhi NCR and other neighboring places. The adverse situation has, reportedly, arisen due to increasing vehicular traffic, construction and industrial activities, burning of rubbish and crops, use of fireworks during religious festivals and so on. Reportedly, such polluted air contains small coarse particles in the atmosphere such as PM2.5, PM10, etc that pass-through nose and throat and into the lungs and thereby, cause health issues such as asthma.

As per various newspaper reports, the following measures have been taken so far by the various Ministries to tackle air pollution in Delhi NCR and other neighboring places:

1- Delhi Government:

Reportedly, the municipal authorities in Delhi have implemented the following measures to tackle air pollution:

a- Converting vehicles to cleaner and eco-friendly fuel,

b- Banning the use of polluting industrial fuel,

c- Opening two major periphery roads in the eastern and western parts of Delhi for vehicles carrying heavy goods,

d- Introducing new fuel emissions standards,

e- Setting up 38 separate air quality testing stations,

f- Rolling out a seven-point action plan:

i) Odd-Even Scheme- Under this Scheme, vehicles with odd last digit in the registration number are allowed on roads on odd dates, whereas, those with even last digit are allowed on roads on even dates from 8 AM to 8 PM, except on Sundays. It would be operational from 04-11-2019.

ii) Pollution Masks- The Government has been distributing around 50 lakh masks to the public through private and government schools in Delhi.

iii) Community Diwali Laser Show- The Laser Show was organized in Connaught Place, Delhi to encourage people not to burst crackers during Diwali.

iv) Environment Marshals- The Government has started deploying environment marshals, who would volunteer in stopping people from illegally burning garbage and other materials.

v) Hotspot Control- The Government would identify pollution hotspots through night patrolling, and real-time monitoring stations and assess the air quality. These locations would be required to meet air quality standards.

vi) Dust Control- The Government would identify dust pollution hotspots where the road owning agencies and Government Departments would be required to use dust suppressants and also, impose penalties for violations by industries in such hotpots.

vii) Tree challenge- The Government would be delivering plants to the doorstep of every household in Delhi that is interested in growing plants and thereafter, they would have to take care of such plants.

2. Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF & CC) and Information & Broadcasting:

Shri Prakash Javadekar, the Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and Information & Broadcasting, has flagged off e-vehicles (presently, battery-operated cars) on 01-11-2019 which would now be replacing the existing petrol and diesel driven Government vehicles.

These Government measures are aimed at curbing severe air pollution, saving fuel, reducing dependence on other countries for oil imports, and also reducing the emission of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Harini Daliparthy

Senior Legal Associate

The Indian Lawyer

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