The Centre Thursday told the Supreme Court that it was examining “steps” needed to check air pollution across the country and will “soon” come out with a “final decision”.
Responding to the top court’s suggestion that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change “look into the matter…on a nationwide basis…”, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Atmaram Nadkarni “assured” a bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta that “steps are being taken and a final decision will be taken very soon.”
The ASG told the court that the Ministry and the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) had finalised a Comprehensive Action Plan (CAP) to control air pollution in Delhi and NCR states. “The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)”, he submitted, had been “requested to issue appropriate directions under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, to all the stakeholders in the Centre and in Delhi-NCR states for undertaking all necessary measures for meeting the timelines.”
Accordingly, CPCB will issue the necessary directions on Thursday itself, Nadkarni submitted. During the course of the hearing, the bench pointed out that cities like Raipur were more polluted than Delhi and asked the Ministry about the steps taken in this regard. Nadkarni said the matter was being examined, and added “the problem is that the sources (of pollution) are different.” The bench pointed to the need for a cohesive plan.