Picking up several points brought out in the ‘Death by Breath’ series, an ongoing investigation by The Indian Express on the quality of air in Delhi (the next in the series will appear Thursday), the NGT took note of the fact that diesel vehicles and unregulated construction activity were two of the main reasons for air pollution in Delhi.
The order on diesel vehicles comes within months of a similar direction to ban petrolvehicles more than 15 years old. While the earlier order was restricted to vehicles inDelhi, the order Tuesday includes the whole of NCR, which includes not just Faridabad, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida but extends as far as Bharatpur, Bhiwadi and Alwar.
“All diesel vehicles, heavy or light, which are more than 10 years old, will not be permitted on the roads of NCR, Delhi,” the court said. It instructed vehicle registration authorities in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana not to register diesel vehicles more than 10 years old.
The NGT order will apply to private and commercialvehicles — this means that thousands of trucks which enter Delhi and adjoining areas every day will not be able to do so. The Indian Express had reported that more than 80,000 trucks enter Delhi every night, adding to the air pollutant count.
Quoting from the second in the ‘Death by Breath’ series, the NGT order acknowledged that the situation in Delhi was “so alarming” that medical patients were being advised by doctors that for good recovery they would have to “leave Delhi”. It also noted that the worst sufferers of air pollution were children, another fact brought to light by the investigation.
The court ordered that all construction activity in violation of the 2010 Urban Township and Area Development Guidelines of the environment ministry be immediately stopped. Specifically, it asked for stopping construction of the buildings which were shown in a report of The Indian Express.
It asked the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Noida and Greater Noida authorities, HUDA, government of Haryana and the NCT of Delhi to “immediately direct the stoppage of construction activity in the buildings shown in the (The Indian Express) report as well as other sites wherever construction is being carried on in violation of the NGT order as well as MoEF guidelines of 2010”.
The NGT said if work was not immediately stopped, the authorities could seal thebuilding and report back
to the court.
The court said Delhi’s air was being polluted by three main category of pollutants — burning of plastics and other agricultural and horticulture produce in open spaces, pollution from construction sites and transport of construction material and debris, and from vehicular emissions.
It issued directions to all state governments, public authorities, corporations and the government of NCT of Delhi to “produce original records to show what action has been taken in compliance of the directions of the tribunal” with regard to curbing air pollution in Delhi.
|Reprinted from: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/death-by-breath-green-tribunal-acts/|