Terming the pollution situation in Delhi-NCR as “critical”, the Supreme Court Monday asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to create a social media account where people can flag their grievances.
A bench of Justice M B Lokur, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice S Abdul Nazeer also said, “The transport departments of NCR will immediately announce that all diesel vehicles (older) than 10 years and petrol vehicles (older) than 15 years shall not ply in NCR, in terms of the order of the National Green Tribunal dated 07.04.2015.”
It added that it had dismissed a plea challenging the NGT order.
“Vehicles violating the order will be impounded,” the court warned, and directed that “a list of such vehicles should be published on the websites of the CPCB and the transport departments of NCR”.
The court added that “similarly, a meaningful advertisement should be published in a local newspaper for convenience of owners of the vehicles”.
The bench took note of concerns expressed by amicus curiae Arajita Singh, that there was no proper forum where the public could highlight instances of pollution and bring it to the notice of authorities.
She suggested that the CPCB be asked to open a social media account where people could flag their grievances.
The court agreed and ordered the CPCB to “immediately create a social media account, (where) citizens may lodge their complaints directly to be acted upon by the task force responsible for implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)”.
The bench allowed the SC-mandated Environmental Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) to take pre-emptive steps under GRAP, without strict adherence to pollution stages delineated in the plan. GRAP is aimed at tackling air pollution in Delhi-NCR and adjoining areas, to take immediate action as and when the air quality worsens.
The court said it was issuing such a direction “in view of the more or less critical situation in NCR, particularly in Delhi, with regard to air pollution”.
Singh also submitted before the court photographs of garbage being burnt in some parts of Delhi, and said this included plastic, rubber and other toxic material and that there was no one to control this.
Taking note, the court said, “The photographs attached to the note indicate a fairly terrible state of affairs with regard to pollution in various parts of Delhi.”
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