NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre and states to list out what measures they have taken to reduce the air pollution levels and prevent stubble burning by farmers.

During the hearing, the apex court asked the Centre to continue taking the measures for controlling air pollution for the next two to three days. In the meantime, if the air pollution level becomes 100, then some restrictions can be lifted, the top court suggested.

The Supreme Court suggested the Centre and Commission for Air Quality Management to rely upon a statistical-based model on wind patterns to take advance measures to curb air pollution in Delhi-NCR before the situation deteriorates.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justices DY Chandrachud, and Surya Kant told the Centre, “When the weather becomes severe then we take measures. These measures have to be taken in anticipation to stop pollution and this anticipation has to be based on a statistical model. This is the National Capital; imagine the signal we are sending to the world. You can stop these activities in the anticipation itself.”

The highest court of the country also asked Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments about any study to show how much stubble has been removed from these states and what emission control methods have been adopted.

 

 

The top court while hearing a batch of pleas seeking direction to the Centre and states over rising pollution, said that it will not close the air pollution case and give final orders soon. The top court further added that due to the seriousness of the issue, it will continue to hear this matter and posted the matter for hearing on November 29.

  

 

The court was hearing a plea relating to measures for checking rising air pollution in Delhi-NCR. Meanwhile, Delhi’s air quality slipped into the very poor category on Wednesday morning as low temperatures and slow surface winds allowed the accumulation of pollutants. The city’s air quality index (AQI) read 357 at 9 am.

According to the India Meteorological Department, Delhi recorded a minimum temperature of 9.2 degrees Celsius, the lowest this season so far. The maximum temperature is likely to settle around 27 degrees Celsius.

Strong winds on Sunday and Monday had led to an improvement in the air quality. The 24-hour average AQI read 290 on Tuesday, the second-best AQI reading this month since November 1 (281).

Delhi has seen very poor or severe air quality on the rest of the days. Neighbouring Faridabad (348), Ghaziabad (346), Greater Noida (329), Gurgaon (308) and Noida (320) also saw a dip in the air quality on Wednesday morning.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”.

The Delhi government is also likely to take a call on the reopening of schools, colleges and other educational institutions and work-from-home for its employees during a review meeting on Wednesday.

It will also discuss if CNG-operated trucks carrying non-essential items can be allowed to enter Delhi. The government had on Monday lifted the ban on construction and demolition activities in view of improvement in the air quality and the inconvenience caused to workers.

The Delhi government had on Sunday night extended work-from-home for its employees and the ban on the entry of trucks carrying non-essential items till November 26 to combat air pollution and minimise its health effects. 

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