India: Controlling ‘Severe’ Pollution

November 19, 2018


The modern lifestyle revolves around fulfilment of multiple needs requiring dependence on high quantities of non-renewable sources of energy including essential as well as non-essential requirements. These come at the expense of mother nature attributable to their reckless and unwarranted usage contaminating the nearby ecosystem thereby making it unfit for all forms of life.

Pollution menace

The over-exploitation of fuel resources, inefficient combustion and improper disposal of their remnants in the form of vehicular emissions, industrial processes, have resulted in high levels of pollution contaminating the air, water, soil and the overall environment around us. Other factors influencing the quantities of foul elements are activities such as crop destruction, constructions, burning of garbage etc. Contributions from other sources such as firecrackers on festivals and occasions such as marriages, processions add to accelerated pollutants prevalent in the environment.

The Government is being confronted with the challenge of the deteriorating air quality as all the causes of pollution add harmful poisonous constituents in the surrounding air. The introduction of these elements results in dire consequences in the form of problems such as dermatological issues, chronic respiratory disorders, cardiovascular problems, retardation of foetal growth, etc.

Legal Governance

With a view to protect the depleting environment, consistent efforts have been made in India. The Environment Protection Act, 1986 with the objective of conservation and improvement of environment has been introduced along with various legislations working towards the protection of air, water and other environmental components.

With a view to prevent, control and abate air pollution, the Government enforced the provisions of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

Administrative set up

Various authorities have been established to control the rising levels of pollution. The Central Pollution Control Board (hereinafter referred to as “CPCB”) is the statutory organisation established by the Government, aims to promote cleanliness thus improving the environment. In furtherance of the said objectives CPCB consistently formulates strategies.

Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (hereinafter referred to as “EPCA”) aims for creation of a better and cleaner standard of air to breathe.

Recent approaches…

With the cooler temperature prevailing, the air is becoming increasingly denser and so is the density of the pollutants. In order to tackle the menace of pollution with expected rise in the same attributable to the upcoming festivities, following measures have been in the ‘to do’ list of the pollution managing authorities. Some of these measures to be taken by Delhi Pollution Control Committee (hereinafter referred to as “DPCC”) in consonance to EPCA guidelines are stated as below :

  • Halt of all construction activities involving excavation, civil construction to remain closed in Delhi and other NCR districts from November 1, 2018 – November 10, 2018 including closure of all stone crushers, hot mix plants generating dust pollution in Delhi and other NCR districts from November 1, 2018 – November 10, 2018 has been ordered.
  • All industries using coal and biomass as fuel (excluding thermal and waste to energy plants) are directed to be shut in Delhi and other NCR districts from November 1, 2018 – November 10, 2018.
  • Transport department and traffic police shall be required to intensify checking of polluting vehicles and control travel congestion in Delhi and other NCR districts from November 1, 2018 – November 10, 2018.
  • Stringent monitoring including imposition of on the spot fines for visibly polluting vehicles indicative of zero tolerance towards pollution causing vehicles.
  • Publishing of public advisory in newspapers recommending the public to reduce outdoor activities and minimise their travel using private vehicles as much as possible encouraging reliance to public transport. It shall also inform about penalties that may be imposed to penalize the pollution causing segment including industries.
  • EPCA has warned that in the event of further dipping of pollution levels, the private vehicles would be stopped from plying.

In view of depleting air quality, the Court of District Magistrate of Ghaziabad (hereinafter referred to as the “Court”) has ordered suspension of all private construction activities and has instructed the sealing of any visibly polluting industries and the ones which are using fuels till November 10, 2018 considering the critical air quality recognized as ‘Severe’.[2] The Court also recommended the closure seven identified polluting industries violating the green norms. The EPCA has further mandated the DPCC to regulate the Government agencies to ensure efficient control of pollution levels.

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