Expressing its displeasure at Delhi Development Authority’s counsel missing the hearing of the air pollution case, the National Green Tribunal on Wednesday said the authority’s absence will not be tolerated in the future.
He also directed an environment audit of all government buildings, including offices and hospitals, in Delhi to control pollution so that public health is not adversely affected. “You are responsible for creating such chaos in Delhi,” said tribunal chairperson Swatanter Kumar.
Kumar said the right to clean the environment is a fundamental one and every citizen, wherever he goes, has a right to receive decent environment.
“Being aware of the seriousness of the environment problem in Delhi, particularly air pollution, we direct all government buildings, including offices, hospitals, schools and colleges, shall be subjected to minimum environment audit. This will include collection and dispensation of solid waste, indoor air quality system and sewage system,” Kumar said.
The bench made it clear that it was not asking all government buildings to be converted into green structures.
“The purpose is that every government building should take necessary precautions to control pollution so that no hazardous result follows in relation to public health. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) shall issue guidelines in this regard within two weeks from today under the provisions of the Environment Protection Act, the Air (Prevention and control of pollution) Act and the Water (Prevention and control of pollution) Act,” he said.
The orders were passed during the ongoing hearing in the petition filed by Vardhaman Kaushik over Delhi’s toxic air.
The Delhi Police, meanwhile, was directed to maintain separate accounts for collections of environment compensation and other charges for violations of orders against burning of waste, plying old diesel vehicles, driving cars that don’t have the pollution under control certificate, etc.
The amount will be diverted towards activities that help reduce pollution in the city.