CPCB to HC: Strict measures already in place against air polluters

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New Delhi: State Pollution Control Boards, construction agencies, municipal bodies besides the Traffic Police and Transport Department of Delhi and NCR has the authority to act against anyone polluting the air in the National Capital Region, a reply filed before the high court said.

The Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) reply before the Delhi High Court stated that it has already issued directions to all the above implementing agencies for strict enforcement against air polluting activities as foul air amid the Covid19 outbreak is only expected to further worsen the matter.

The reply was filed before a division bench of the high court presided by Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan over a plea relating to stubble burning cases happening in Delhi’s neighboring states.

The affidavit further states that steps such as restriction on the use of pet coke & furnace oil in industry and directions for the conversion of brick kilns to zig-zag technology have been taken that may likely impact positively on the ambient air quality.

The bench on Thursday disposed of the application after noting that a committee on October 16 has been constituted under the chairmanship of retired SC Justice Madan B. Lokur in this regard and the Supreme Court is also hearing the related matter which is scheduled on October 26.

Court also granted liberty to the petitioner to approach court again, if feel any difficulty.

The application had sought directions to authorities to take immediate steps to prevent stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh in the view of COVID-19 situation.

The application was filed by one Sudhir Mishra through advocates Petal Chandhok and Ritwika Nanda sought directions to the respondents to send expert teams to these three states for implementing effective measures to curb stubble burning.

Senior Advocate Arvind Nayar representing the petitioner submitted that the stubble burning has lead to an increase in the number of emergency cases in the current situation of widespread COVID-19 and highly impacted the lungs of COVID patients, the submission also supported by ASG Chetan Sharma appeared for Central authorities.

On the previous date of hearing, the counsel for the petitioner told the court that stubble burning in the neighboring states has already begun and the same causes a significant increase of about 40-50 percent in air pollution.

“Now, the situation is different and something has to be done on war footing as the pandemic is directly connected to the lungs and air pollution would pose a greater threat,” the petitioner said. The petition also sought directions to the respondents to send expert teams to these three states for implementing effective measures to curb stubble burning.

The stubble burning will lead to a massive increase in the number of emergency cases in the current situation of widespread COVID-19, the petitioner contended.

The plea filed by Sudhir Mishra through Advocate Petal Chandhok and Advocate Ritwika Nanda also submitted that the stubble burning has already begun in parts of Punjab, indicating a mammoth rise of 6 percent in incidents of stubble burning in the last one week.

The deadly virus, which has already claimed the lives of 1,16,616 citizens, attacks the respiratory organs and immune system of the human body, the plea added.

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