The Supreme Court sought to know which chemicals should not be used beyond a limit in the firecrackers and observed that guidelines on this have to be laid down.
“Have you (states) identified no-pollution zones in states so that we can send old diesel vehicles to such areas? Why don’t you people do it. If the states do not tell us places to accommodate 10-year-old vehicles then there is no question of allowing such vehicles,” the bench said.
Since Volkswagen admitted to cheating US diesel emissions tests in September 2015, the German government has come under fire for not doing enough to crack down on vehicle pollution and for being too close to the country’s powerful auto industry.
The tribunal had last year ordered the Delhi government to cancel the registration of all diesel-powered vehicles over 10 years old and barred them from plying. In July last year, it had said that all the vehicles which are deregistered would not be permitted to ply in Delhi-NCR.
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Intervening, Speaker V Vaithilingam said the Public Accounts Committee and Estimate Committee could also inspect industries causing pollution and initiate action against them.
The petition, filed through advocate Rahul Khurana, has made Ministry of Environment and Forests, Ministry of Water Resources, Uttar Pradesh government, Central Pollution Control Board as parties in the case.
The report also claimed that none of the 168 cities it assessed complies with air quality standards prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The NCRPB asked the NCR states to improve forest cover, besides directing them to speed up inter-state connectivity for seamless travel in the region.
The observation came after the court noted that on November 17, the Air Quality Index had shown that PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels were “approximately four times more than the prescribed safe standard”.
The figures in Delhi — the highest among all states — are also double the national average of reduction in life expectancy which is 3.3 years.
The next hearing in the matter is on July 11, in which all states will have to present data on vehicular population.
The CPCB also pointed out that emission from different sources, apart from vehicular pollution, also varied, making it difficult to analyse the scientific benefits of the scheme.
Gwalior, among the top five cities globally in terms of PM 2.5 levels, recorded an annual average of 176 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3) and Allahabad 170.
Neither pollution nor congestion significantly decreased as they did during the January experiment. An enduring solution lies in scaling up the smaller, successful programmes.