The Supreme Court on 3 December 2016 approved Graded Response Action Plan of the Union Government to deal with the different levels of pollution in Delhi-NCR region.
The court also directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to upgrade its existing infrastructure and set up additional monitoring stations in Delhi-NCR within six months.
It also asked the Union Government to examine the harmful effects of petroleum coke and furnace oil used in industries and power generation plants in NCR within four weeks.
The ruling was made by the bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justices AK Sikri and SA Bobde.
Highlights of the Graded Response Action Plan
• It will be implemented under the aegis of Environment Pollution (Control and Prevention) Authority (EPCA).
• It recommends closing of brick kilns, hot mix plants, intensifying public transport services and stone crushers.
• It also suggests increase in frequency of mechanised cleaning of road and sprinkling of water on roads to tackle problem of pollution.
• It proposes common pollution code for Delhi-NCR to provide graded response to the health emergencies that are caused by toxic air.
• The code classifies the pollutants present in the air into four categories- moderate to poor, very poor, severe, very Severe or emergency depending upon the level of pollutants in air.
• The pollution level will be termed as 'severe' when the particulate matter is above 250 to 430 micrograms per cubic metre in the ambient air.
• If the air pollution level reaches the alarming situation, immediate steps will be taken like ban on construction activities and implementation of road space rationing schemes.
• The proposed new thermal power plant standards must come into force as soon as possible to reduce pollution load significantly by installing the pollution control devices without any further delay.
Who: Supreme Court
When: 3 December 2016