The heavy smog over Delhi and NCR has not escaped the eyes of the public, the media, Twitter, or trolls on Instagram; and yet it seems to have been overlooked by the Govt. and its authorities. The National Green Tribunal on 8th November expressed its anger on the lethargy and ignorance of the authorities in not taking the initiative to shut down construction activities and examine the levels of pollutants in the air.
The air over Delhi and NCR has been visibly polluted to a terrible level, with thick smog hovering over the atmosphere and covering buildings, vehicles, roads and more. The sale of pollution masks has suddenly splurged and people have begun to resemble alien creatures with fittings covering nose and mouth. While the whole scenario is sad and scary at the same time, there seems to be nothing that could be done to make the smog go away, but only towards ensuring that it does not accelerate further.
Though the Supreme Court recently stepped in to ban the sale of crackers in Delhi, citing the alarming levels of air pollution that succeed the Diwali mélange (wherein crackers seem more important than the lights often), the pollution thatis evident in the air at the advent of winter implies that one year of ban would not serve to solve the issues. The NGT has rained down on the Delhi Govt. and the Central Pollution Control Board for not issuing directions to bring the current situation under control despite the high levels of pollution clearly visible to the naked eye. The CPCB has been directed to collect samples of air from parts of the city to examine the composition of the pollutants including Particulate Matter 2.5 and 10. The Delhi Govt. was criticized for not taking steps to contain the pollution and stop construction/industrial activities causing emission. The Punjab and Haryana Govts were asked to give a Report on the steps they have taken to address the issue of burning of crops in the States. The NGT had summoned the Govts of Delhi, UP and Haryana to submit why preventive steps had not been taken to control the levels of pollution despite the terrible condition visible.
The matter was brought before the NGT in a plea to initiate urgent action against the deteriorating air quality in Delhi. The plea was brought before the Tribunal in the light of the difficulty faced by children and the elderly in the backdrop of the ‘severe’ quality of air and the post-Diwali pathetic quality of air that led the CPCB to rate that the condition of air was ‘very poor’.
The condition that has raised much alarm in the Capital has also led to the reinstatement of the Odd-Even system that was applied in the Delhi traffic twice earlier, to tackle the menace of air pollution from vehicular fumes. The Policy will be applied once again in Delhi for 5 days from Nov 13 to 17, wherein private vehicles would be allowed on the road only on alternate days according to the last digit on the number plates. The announcement was made on the afternoon of 9th November 2017 and comes as a welcome move in the light of the condition of the air we breathe.