NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today asked the Centre whether they have looked into the aspect of economic loss due to health hazards caused by severe air pollution in the Delhi-national capital region (NCR).
The top court raised the question while referring to an affidavit filed by Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) which said it had constituted a high-level task force to look into the issue of stubble burning and options to discourage the burning of crop residues.
"Air pollution also causes lots of health hazards. A large number of people were admitted to hospitals, particularly children. So there is a huge economic loss," a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said.
"Have Union of India looked into it? Have you looked into the aspect of economic implication and economic loss to the state," the bench asked Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni.
The bench also said that no one concerned with health like medical professionals were involved in discussions of the task force about the impact of air pollution on health.
"In our opinion, it would be appropriate if the high-level task force also take the assistance of medical professional .... and also discuss the issue of health impact of air pollution," the court said.
Nadkarni said he would inform the chairperson of the task force about it.
At the outset, the bench told Nadkarni that the task force has held meetings but what have been the result of these deliberations.
Nadkarni said he would place before the court the result of the deliberations, with the bench posting the matter for hearing on January 15.
Last month, a petition was filed in the apex court raising the issue of severe air pollution in the Delhi-NCR including stubble burning in neighbouring states like Haryana and Punjab.
The plea had claimed that stubble burning had led to an alarming rise in pollution levels in the NCR and its adjoining areas.