The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday questioned Delhi's Aam Aadmi Party government about measures taken to deal with the hazardous pollution levels in the region, ANI reported. The tribunal asked the state administration if it had held any meetings in August and September to discuss ways to tackle pollution. It said fire crackers burnt during Diwali and crop burning were "known factors" that could have been avoided or addressed ahead of time.
The tribunal questioned the Delhi government's plans to sprinkle water through cranes and not helicopters, to address dust pollution. "Do you have any data that shows a reduction of smog [through this method]?" the bench said. It also accused Delhi officials of not revealing details about the ground reality.
The NGT also slammed the Punjab and Haryana government, and asked about Punjab's efforts at controlling stubble burning (the burning of the straw left behind after the harvest of wheat and other crops). "How many machines have you provided to the farmers for agriculture waste disposals?" the NGT bench asked. "If you had provided even Rs 1,000 to the farmers, they would not have burnt the agriculture wastage like this." The tribunal accused the Haryana government of not doing enough to curb smog.
On November 7, Union Environment Minister Anil Dave had said that Delhi was responsible for up to 80% of the pollution in the city. Dave made the statement after meeting the environment ministers of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
The air quality in the National Capital Region has dropped significantly since the city celebrated Diwali on October 30, with several reports saying the Capital is now the most polluted city in the world. It was made worse by cooler temperatures and lack of winds, which causes a harmful mix of respirable pollutants and toxic gases to remain close to the surface. The Centre for Science and Environment had said that Delhi has not been affected by such levels of smog in the past 17 years.
Measures announced by the NGT on Tuesday include:
- No burning of garbage or stone-crushers to be used for five days.
- Advisory against crop burning in five states.
- Ban on construction work in NCR for five days.