On Monday, the Supreme Court passed a slew of directions to address the protracted problem of air pollution in Delhi.
The bench of Justice Arun Misha and Justice Deepak Gupta has passed several directions, dealing right from the problem of stubble burning to vehicular emissions and construction dust. In this regard, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the Governments of Haryana, Rajasthan and UP have been asked to file action taken report within three weeks, along with compliance report of previous directions.
The Central Government and the State Governments of Punjab, Haryana and UP have been directed to prepare a comprehensive plan to prevent stubble burning. In this regard, they've been asked to finally decide to incentive and disincentive of Rs.100/- per quintal and the in-situ farming. They have also been directed to prepare a Crop Residuary Management, vis-à-vis its use inter alia as fertilizer, cattle food and bio fuel.
They have also been asked to prepare a scheme for making available Combine Harvesters, Happy Seeders, Hydraulically Reversible MB Plough, Paddy Straw Chopper, Mulcher, Rotary Slasher, Zero Till Seed Drill and Rotavators and balers, especially dedicated to small and marginal farmers, either free of charge or on nominal rental basis.
The court has asked the Delhi Government to complete the installation of the proposed Smog Tower at Connaught Place within three months. Further, directions have been issued for installation of a similar tower at Anand Vihar. To this end, the government has been asked to provide space of 30 x 30 meters for installation of an experimental tower within seven days.
The court has also ordered use of "anti-smog guns" in Delhi and NCR region at Large construction sites; Road construction stretches, particularly during earthwork and compacting; Mining activities; Large parking sites on unpaved areas and during large public gatherings; and During demolition activities.
The court has also mandated use of anti-smog guns in Delhi-NCR in the projects that require environmental clearance from the State/Central level, on sites having built-up area of more than 20,000 sq. mts., including excavation, material handling and other dust generating activities. To this end, the authorities have been asked to take policy decision with respect to cost of installation, duly considering the "polluters pay" principle.
All four State Governments have been directed to identify dumped waste of plastic, industrial and other wastes and to ensure that waste is not burnt and is used for processing/incineration and piled up waste is removed on time-bound basis.
For construction and demolition, the Governments are to file a status report regarding compliance with the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016, and penal action has been recommended against the developers found flouting the norms.
Noting that there is only 55% capacity available with respect to lifting garbage and waste generated in Delhi, the government has been directed to work out details with respect to the remaining 45% and place it before the Court, including the implements, tools, manpower and the expenditure required in that connection. Meanwhile, the govt. of all the four states have been asked to point out the existing and deficit facilities of recycling of construction and demolition waste.
The order also, to a degree, delves into deficient industrial waste management, neglected problem of toxic vehicular and industrial emissions and inept traffic management.
It also took note of various field visits made by the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority in the bordering areas of Delhi NCR and has asked them to take remedial measures with respect to the problems spotted there and file a compliance report.
Case Title: MC Mehta v. Union of India
Case No.: WP (C) No. 13029/1985
Quorum: Justice Arun Misha and Justice Deepak Gupta