NGT hits out at the Centre for lack of measures to curb air pollution

New Delhi(PTI): Neither the Centre, nor the states are owning up responsibility for growing pollution or suggesting measures to curb it, the National Green Tribunal on Monday said, asking whether they have no responsibility towards children suffering from the menace.

“Nobody is owning up anything. Every body is trying to come out clean. Not a single application or affidavit has been received from anybody trying to own up the things or suggesting any measures to curb pollution. Is this way the capital of the country will become pollution-free,” a bench headed NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The tribunal said the Union Road Transport Ministry in its affidavit has submitted that only 18.5 % pollution was due to the vehicular emission, but they cannot say what contributes to the remaining 80 %.

“If vehicles are not causing air pollution, then what is the cause. Can anyone tell us the reason of rest 80 % air pollution? Think of children who are living on antibiotics due to the air pollution. Do we have no responsibility towards them,” the bench said, while directing the Ministry to state the source of pollution in the city.

It observed that several people were stating with facts and figures that due to high air pollution, many were being forced to move out of Delhi.

The bench then asked all civic bodies of Delhi, the Union Ministries of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Road Transport and other respondents to file comprehensive replies regarding steps taken to curb air pollution and posted the matter for tomorrow.

On May 25, the tribunal had asked the Centre to learn from China in curbing vehicular pollution in the Delhi-NCR region, as it extended till today the stay on its order banning plying of over 10-year-old diesel motor vehicles.

The Centre had submitted a IIT-Delhi report before the tribunal in which it had said that up to 67 % of total Particulate Matter at 2.5 emissions from road transport was contributed by heavy and light duty commercial vehicles alone.

The IIT, Delhi report filed before the green panel had said that Delhi was among the top 10 cities with worst particulate matter (PM) pollution, as per the World Health Organization estimates for 2014.

The report said that shares of PM 2.5 emissions from transport sectors in Delhi for 2014 were two wheelers – eight %, cars and taxis – 19 %, three-wheeled auto rickshaws – one %, buses – five %, heavy duty commercial vehicles – 38 % and light duty commercial vehicles – 29 %.

The green panel had on May 18 pulled up the Centre for seeking stay of its ban order on the ground that the IIT-Delhi study had contended that vehicles above 10 years were responsible for a “negligible” amount of the air pollution.