The environment problems in Delhi are a threat to the inhabitants of the city as well as the flora and fauna of the city. It is the fifth most polluted metropolis in the world and is one of the most polluted cities in India. As many as 10,000 people die prematurely in a year because of air pollution. To curb the pollution problems in the city; the Supreme Court of India and National Green Tribunal have given series of judgments. In November, 2014 the National Green Tribunal in the case of Vardhaman Kaushik v. Union of India & Ors. gave a decision banning vehicles that are more than 15 years old in the city.
As held in the case of M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, each individual residing in this country has right to live in a clean and safe environment. But the trucks which run for more than 15 years are causing such a huge pollution that it violates this fundamental right of the people in Delhi. If we have to give precedence to environment and public health such direction needs to be adhered to without delay and default.
With the increasing pollutants in the air, the life of people in NCR has become more vulnerable to various diseases. The greatest sufferers from this pollutant are the young children. The air pollution is increasing and has reached to an alarming stage which has made impossible for the people of Delhi to breathe fresh air.
According to Statistics of the year 2000, the particulate matter found in the air of Delhi was 191 μg/m3 which was then reduced to 161 μg/m3 in 2007 because of introduction of CNG buses in the city. But this particulate matter again shot up to 360 μg/m3 in 2014. It was also reported that every night there were more than 80000 trucks entering in Delhi. Therefore, the sleeping Delhi breathes a lot of cancer causing pollutant during the night.
The three serious pollutants which the NGT has notified in its order which are polluting our society:
- Burning of plastic or other wastes such as agriculture waste in public.
- Pollution caused from construction or other similar activities which releases huge amount of dust in the air.
- The pollution caused from vehicular traffic and the industrial emission.
The study of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has proved that the diesel vehicles are the major source of pollution in the city. They have degraded the air quality of the city. Therefore in order to prevent this, many countries, such as China, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Denmark etc., have done away with the diesel vehicles or have imposed very heavy duty on such vehicles.
Thus in this case also, the National Green Tribunal decided that, all diesel vehicles, be it heavy or light, if they are more than 10 years old they will not be allowed on the roads of Delhi. All the registering authority of Haryana, U.P. and NCT will have to ensure that they do not register any diesel vehicle which is more than 10 years of any other state. They should also tell NGT about total number of such vehicles in Delhi. Even petrol vehicles which are more than 15 years old, are not to be registered in Delhi so as to protect the environment.
Recently a petition was filed to challenge this order in the Hon’ble Supreme Court but the same has not been entertained. A bench consisting of the Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu observed that the NGT needs more support for taking such a strong stand rather than any hurdles in the way. The bench praised the judgment given by the National Green Tribunal and also said that the spirit of this judgment had come from various constitutional cases.