AIR spotlight summary on “Judicial Decisions on Pollution Crisis in Delhi”.
- Delhi is facing severe Air Pollution which is creating lot of health problems especially for children and elderly. There seems to be no quick solution. The Supreme Court has asked the Delhi government to come out with a common minimum programme to deal with this problem. It has asked the Delhi government for not doing enough in the last one year and not following the directions given by Supreme Court last year.
- The pollution level in Delhi is very serious and an emergency situation is prevailing which is not good for the population. These kinds of pollution levels are not normal. In 1952 the London fog created an alarm in the global community about the Air Pollution problem. The Delhi air pollution is almost similar to it.
Effects of Air Pollution
- This has long term health effects. It affects our longevity, affects the body metabolism and affects even the commercial interest. The flights are delayed, the visibility is poor which leads to road accidents, the traffic moves slower which further adds to air pollution.
Factors contributing to Air Pollution
- There are large numbers of factors which contribute including the meteorological condition. In winter the meteorological conditions are different because of the low temperature. The air temperature closer to the ground are low as compared to the high temperature in the column of air above the ground. As a result the pollution gets trapped below.
- Everyone is contributing to the pollution like pollution from small car, large truck, thermal power plant, construction, dirt on the road, bursting of crackers etc.
- The volume of activity has gone up. There is also an import of pollution. The dust from Rajasthan desert comes to Delhi when it is windy and the burning of agricultural waste in the neighbouring states. The lacksidal attitudes of those who manage the Air monitoring and administrative dispensation of the law are very weak. These factors are well known. Since there hasn’t been any work done to remedy them it has been a precarious situation.
- The road system has to be improved. Most of roads have potholes as a result the vehicle speed slows down. Average speed has come down compared to previous year.
- The illegal parking on the roads adds to the congestion and therefore slows down the vehicle speed thereby burning more fuel for less distance travelled.
- The cleaning of roads is not done as a result the dust keeps on lifting frequently as the vehicles move. Supreme Court has also directed to clean the roads. There was an assurance that the vacuum cleaning of the roads would be done but unless the road surface is smooth the vacuum cleaning would not be very effective and practical.
- Concentration of population in one city leads to higher generation of waste. There is no policy of urbanisation to guide how much urbanisation is permissible. The exporting of waste to other parts also creates lot of traffic on the roads.
- Last year Supreme Court gave 10 point Action Plan for the Delhi government. The present situation shows that the Delhi government has not actively pursued and much remains to be done. This is attracting criticism from the outside world in a very big way.
- These things are manageable which requires no technology. The solid waste collected in Delhi is huge in quantity and is dumped in an unscientific way. Due to complex chemical reactions certain amount of gases emanate from it and the most important of it is methane which is highly inflammable. There are places in Delhi where the smoke smouldering is there all the day which affects the air quality. There requires a concentrated policy and action.
Measures required to control Air Pollution
- There is lot of population pressure in Delhi. There is a need for long term urban policy, long term developmental policy and avoid the concentration of development in only one city.
- There is a need to weed out the vehicles which are 15 years old which are emanating more pollution because their efficiency is low. This has to be done very firmly. The odd and even system deployed is a very small measure. It’s impact on the air quality was very negligible. Along with this there should be a slew of measures with equal amount of vigour and commitment to control the air pollution which has never taken place.
- Managing the air quality is the task of many departments. We need greater coordination, greater implementation and greater public awareness. Advertise and say very clearly the responsibility at individual and collective levels.
- Preventing air pollution is not a charity work rather it benefits the own individual or the community. This kind of an attitude must be inculcated to the public and keep on reminding to the people about their responsibility.
- The heavy traffic which uses Delhi as a corridor needs to be prevented. The trucks which pass to other states will pass through Delhi. Supreme Court has doubled the fine i.e. the Environment compensation. But fees are not the solution as people are capable of paying it.
Safety measures required
- The citizens have to be very careful because the situation is very serious. People must come out of their home if it is necessary. Doing heavy exercise outside and games should be avoided because the intake of the air and the metabolism increases which means more pollutants enter the body.
- The activities like burning of waste should be minimum.
- We should not consume more electricity than what is required.
- Restrain on burning of crackers.
- Car pooling so that the number of cars on roads gets reduced.
- We should not throw waste on road which finally turns into pollution.
- Reduce waste generation because the city does not have the capacity to handle it.
- Individuals have to take care of themselves by using masks.