The National Green Tribunal pulled up the governments of Delhi, Punjab and Haryana over unprecedented levels of air pollution, enquiring about the steps taken to curb a thick blanket of smog that has enveloped the national capital.
The NGT asked the Aam Aadmi Party government if it held meetings in August and September to tackle pollution, given that Diwali and crop burning were known factors leading to the smog.
The NGT also asked the government if it had any data to show there was a reduction in the smog cover over Delhi.
The Delhi government has stepped up efforts of vacuum cleaning and washing city roads to curb pollution due to dust. The government has ordered schools to remain closed for three days and stopped all construction and demolition activities till Friday.
The coal-based thermal power plant at Badarpur in south Delhi, which generates fly ash, was ordered to be shut for 10 days.
The national capital continues to suffer from “severe” air quality, though the smog cover has seen some reduction.
“Why are you sprinkling water through cranes and not helicopters?” the NGT asked the Delhi government on Tuesday.
The NGT also criticised the Punjab government over rising pollution and for not making any serious efforts to stop crop burning in the state. “If you had provided even Rs 1,000 to the farmers, they would not have burnt the agriculture waste like this,” the green tribunal to the Punjab government.
The tribunal said the Haryana government had done nothing to control the situation of smog and pollution.
System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) showed levels of PM (particulate matter) 2.5 and PM 10 breaching the 500-mark in most locations on Tuesday afternoon.
Particulate Matter less than 10 micrometres in diameter (PM10) is so small that it can get into lungs and can cause severe health problems. Particulate Matter less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5) is produced by burning fuels.