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Supreme Court takes steps to check air quality on its premises

The court subsequently imposed pollution compensatory charges on commercial vehicles entering Delhi.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | Delhi |
Updated: December 5, 2015 9:13:49 am
pollution, delhi pollution, supreme court, air quality, delhi air quality, CPCB, delhi news Supreme Court of India.

Clearing the air is what the Supreme Court usually does. The top court is doing it again, literally this time.

At 9.15 am Friday, a group of men with equipment and machines walked briskly towards the Chief Justice of India’s courtroom, only to be halted by alarmed security personnel. Dressed in white coats, the men showed an authority letter from the CJI himself. Within the next 45 minutes, three courtrooms had handy air sampler machines installed while two ambient air analyser stations at the court lawns drew a curious crowd.

Read: Curbing Delhi pollution: The Big Question, How?

Seeking to address its concerns over rising air pollution, officials from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) visited the top court Friday and installed air filtering equipment in the courtrooms and on the premises to check for pollutants and come up with remedies.
The CJI-led bench is seized of a PIL filed by environmentalist M C Mehta, on the alarming spurt in air pollution in Delhi-NCR. It has also issued several directives from time to time. During a previous hearing, the then CJI H L Dattu had said his grandson “looks like a ninja” because of the mask he is forced to wear due to pollution.

WATCH VIDEO: This is what is wrong with the air in Delhi

The court subsequently imposed pollution compensatory charges on commercial vehicles entering Delhi. The bench had also observed that if the rising pollution level is not checked in the capital, children will very soon be seen only in hospitals.

Read: What is more important, health or your car? You have to take a call: Ashish Khetan 

During a recent hearing, senior advocate Harish Salve, amicus in the PIL, had also adduced an air sample of the courtrooms. He said the air is too harmful to breathes and urged for imminent measures.

Citing these orders by the bench, CPCB officials installed more than half a dozen sampler machines inside the courtrooms, including court number 1 of the CJI. Officials said they have a 24-hour window to collect air samples for assessment.

“These instruments collect air samples at very specific and constant air flows. We have been asked to check the quality of air before the sessions begin, when the courts are in session and again when the day ends. It will give us a proper idea of change in air quality when lawyers and litigants are present in courtrooms and otherwise,” said an official.

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Further, two environmental analyser stations were set up in the court lawns to assess the ambient air quality for pollutants.

“Atmospheric air has been a cause of major concern and the SC has also expressed its views. The CPCB has been entrusted with the task of collecting samples, analysing them and presenting a report along with remedial measures to improve the condition,” said the official.
He added that the stations will take into consideration the urban smog and the size of particulate matter in the breathable atmosphere in Delhi. “The analysis equipment will detect amounts of targeted ‘criteria pollutants’, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, PM 2.5, PM 10, sulfur dioxide, lead, ozone, and others,” he said.

Read: A few must sacrifice their comforts in order to save lives, says M C Mehta

‘PM’ refers to the particulate matter suspended in air and the numbers in the ‘PM’ connotes particle size in micrometers. This report is likely to be submitted to the Environment Ministry, which will then present the facts before the apex court.

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