The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to the Union Ministry of Environment & Forests, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Ministry of Finance and the Central Pollution Control Board on a petition seeking a directive to the Centre for steps to enforce the prescribed emission standards to control and reduce the air pollution.
Advocate Santosh Paul, appearing for petitioner Arvind Gupta, told a Bench comprising Chief Justice (CJI) Altamas Kabir, Justice Fakir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla and Justice Vikramajit Sen that a study conducted here and in Chennai had found that the extent of air pollution was extremely high because of the use of diesel.The pollution has touched an all-time high of 711 µg/m3, which is 30 times more than the WHO-prescribed norms, the counsel stated.
The petitioner averred that world over the air pollution levels have been contained by enforcing strict emission norms on vehicle manufacturers.
However, the Centre had failed to discharge its Constitutional duties to protect the citizens from the runaway air pollution.
The petitioner contended that the Euro IV and Euro V emission norms on diesel and petrol vehicles have not been implemented till date.
According to the petition, the Centre had failed to implement the Environment Protection Act, 1986 and The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. And the new emission norms followed in the developed world had turned Delhi, the National Capital Territory (NCT) and the other Indian cities into virtual gas chambers, Gupta pointed out.
He alleged that the respondents have been ignoring the hard facts about the alarming levels of Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) here.
The recent cloud of toxic smog that enveloped the city had recorded a frightening 711 µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre) of PM10 as against the permissible limit of 20 µg/m3 prescribed by the WHO and 450 g/m3 of PM2.5 in several areas of the city as prescribed by the NAAQ (National Ambient Air Quality) Standard for residential/industrial areas.
Besides, the annual average/24 hours is hopelessly out of date and still regards 60-80 µg/m3 as the permissible limit.