New Delhi: Describing the prevailing situation of pollution in the Delhi-NCR region as “very critical”, the Supreme Court on Monday prohibited the plying of 15-yr-old petrol and 10-yr-old diesel vehicles in the national capital region and directed the transport department to announce that such vehicles will be impounded if found plying.
The top court said that the list of 15 yr old petrol and 10 year old vehicles be given on the website of Central Pollution Control Board and transport department of NCR.
The CPCB will immediately make social media account on which citizens can complain about pollution, the top court ordered.
Earlier, the National Green Tribunal had also banned 15-yr-old petrol and 10-yr-old diesel vehicles in Delhi-NCR.
Delhi continues to grapple with alarming levels of pollution as citizens expressed their anger and concern over the deteriorating air quality in the city which is one of the most polluted in the world.
Delhi recorded its worst air quality of this season Sunday as a thick haze engulfed the national capital which continued to grapple with deteriorating air quality.
The overall Air Quality Index of Delhi was recorded at 381 which falls in the very poor category, the highest of this season, and just points below severe pollution level, according to data by the Central Pollution Control Board.
With Diwali round the corner and the Supreme Court giving a window of two hours for bursting firecrackers, experts believe the air quality is going to further deteriorate in the first ten days of November.
Two pollution watchdogs CPCB and Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research have both issued health advisories for the public which include measures like wearing masks, keeping windows shut and taking short walks instead of jogging to reduce exposure to toxic air.
The apex court last week ruled that people can burst crackers from 8 pm to 10 pm only on Diwali and permitted the sale and manufacture of low emission “green” firecrackers nationwide. For Christmas and New Year, bursting of crackers was allowed for 11.45 pm – 12.45 am.
Toxic air continues to plague the national capital due to localised factors like vehicular pollution and rampant construction activities and regional factors like stubble burning from Punjab and Haryana.
Stubble burning from Punjab and Haryana has caused 32 per cent of pollution in Delhi , according to a report by SAFAR.
The report which analysed the impact of pollutant PM2.5 showed that highest contribution since October 11 by stubble burning was seen on Friday at 36 per cent.
Earlier this month, Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan had said the government would soon release guidelines to prosecute agencies which do not comply with the directives to check air pollution. He had expressed concerns about the deteriorating air quality in the national capital.
The pollution reached alarming levels every year when the wind direction changes in winter and it starts flowing from areas of stubble burning in Delhi’s neighbouring states.
An emergency action plan to tackle poor air quality in Delhi came into force on October 15. Measures that will also cover surrounding parts of the National Capital Region include mechanised sweeping of roads and deployment of traffic police to ensure smooth passage of traffic in vulnerable areas.
The measures are part of the Graded Response Action Plan, which was put in place in 2017 on the directions of the Supreme Court after high pollution levels in the National Capital Region in the winter of 2016.