The National Green Tribunal on Friday summoned the environment secretaries of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan, and asked them to submit a report on the burning of agricultural residues as well as the steps taken to curb pollution. The panel also asked the Delhi government to stop all 10-year-old diesel vehicles from plying on roads in the National Capital Region. The next hearing of the case is on November 8, reported ANI.
The NGT had taken suo motu cognisance of the matter after air pollution in the national Capital rose to extremely hazardous levels post Diwali. On Thursday, the Centre for Science and Environment had said that Delhi is facing the worst smog in 17 years. The advocacy organisation said levels of PM2.5 (particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter) increased by 62.7% on November 2 compared with that on October 30. They said the levels were 9.4 times the standard on November 2 and 11.6 times the standard on November 3.
The Indian Meteorological Department had reiterated the research institute when it said that the Indira Gandhi International Airport recorded the worst levels of smog in 17 years on November 2.
The NGT’s orders come four days after the Union Environment Ministry had directed states around Delhi to enforce a ban on stubble burning (the burning of the straw left behind after the harvest of wheat and other crops). The ministry had also asked municipal bodies in Delhi to prevent the open burning of solid waste.
Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday had said the government would soon initiate measures to curb the rising pollution. However, the government did not specify any deadline for these measures.