Even though stubble burning remains a “visible villain” or a “trigger” for pollution in the present season, vehicular, industrial emission and construction dust are equally big issues, observed the Delhi High Court, while directing the Centre and the state to list out the steps undertaken to comply with its earlier order to prevent air pollution.
A bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva was hearing a PIL that it had initiated in 2015, besides another plea filed by a person underlining the poor air quality in the national capital. “It seems that stubble burning will take some time to be eradicated significantly. But, what can be done to mitigate (other factors like) construction dust, etc?” asked the bench.
Meanwhile, Amicus Curiae, Senior Counsel Kailash Vasudev, said that despite a “ host of court orders”, there was a “complete breach” by authorities.
Maintaining that the situation has become such where schoolchildren were unable to go to schools because of the air pollution/ smog, Vasudev asked the government officials present in court: “We want you to tell us what are the preventive measure you have taken for construction dust.”
Highlighting an affidavit on the steps taken to curb pollution submitted by the Centre, Vasudev said nothing concrete was being done, and that only “meetings, reviews, monitoring, etc” had been going on for the past two years.
The bench then asked the maximum punishment for stubble burning, to which the Centre’s counsel referred the relevant section of the Air Pollution Act. “ In any case, we must arrest some of the people sitting in offices,” said Vasudev, referring to the failure of the officials to take concrete action.
The bench said that its order regarding preventing air pollution was “something that concerned all of us” and was not just “any other order”. The matter has been listed for further hearing on Monday.