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Delhi smog: Why choppers not used to control dust pollution, asks NGT

IANS | New Delhi |

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday rapped the Centre and the governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab over the spike in pollution in the city and asked why choppers were not used to sprinkle water to control dust pollution.

Seeking replies from these state governments along with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in two days, the tribunal said a sharp spike in air pollution in Delhi-National Capital Region is “choking children”.

“Children can’t breathe… what will you do?” NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the Delhi government.

“Why are you not sprinkling water by using helicopters.”

The bench, while hearing a plea filed by advocate Sanjay Upadhyay, asked these state governments on the steps taken by them to check air quality in their respective jurisdictions.

The tribunal observations come on a day authorities increased vehicle parking fee four times in a bid to curb air pollution in Delhi.

On October 23, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote to Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan to seek support for the Delhi government’s plan to use choppers for aerial sprinkling of water in the national capital to help dust particles settle down. However, there was no response.

The Delhi Environment Minister also wrote a letter to the Environment Ministry in October, saying that the Delhi government would bear the expenses on the use of choppers.

In 2016, the tribunal pulled up officials for not taking preventive steps to control Delhi’s ambient air quality by artificial rain to settle dust and thereby controlling particulate pollution.

The tribunal also asked the central pollution monitoring and controlling agency — CPCB — on the “powers it exercised and instructions it passed to neighbouring states, including Delhi, to control air pollution”.