With the national capital engulfed in smog, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday slammed Delhi government for not acting "seriously" to improve deteriorating air quality in the city and directed it to convene an urgent meeting on the issue.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed Secretary, Environment and Forest Department, Health Secretary, Chairman and member secretary of Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to hold a meeting at 4:00 PM.
The green panel also directed the Delhi government to issue a notification within a week with regard to areas in the capital which are most polluted and enumerate steps needed to check air pollution in Delhi.
"What is the status of air pollution? All you can say is that there is no pollution…All stakeholders who are dealing with air pollution indicate that Delhi is highly polluting.
The level of PM (particulate matter) 2.5 and PM 10, both are more than prescribed limits. We cannot permit such state of affairs causing serious environmental pollution to prevail," the bench said.
The Tribunal also directed the Central Pollution Control Board to seek information from various states and UTs on ambient air quality in their area and submit a report on the same to the bench.
It also sought report from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and Haryana government on the status of Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways.
On the issue of alternative routes used by commercial vehicles, the Haryana government told the Tribunal that nearly 6,000 to 7,000 vehicles were being diverted at Panipat through alternative route via NH-71A and NH-71.
The matter is listed for next hearing on December 11.
Earlier, the Tribunal has also asked state governments to come up with suggestions to combat air pollution in the respective states.
On April 7 it had held that all diesel vehicles which were over 10 years will not be permitted to ply in Delhi-NCR.
Dismayed at increasing air pollution in the national capital, the Tribunal had banned all vehicles which were more than 15 years old from plying on the city roads.