NGT was hearing matter over remedial measures to be adopted to enforce ambient air quality standards in cities

Stating that the National Clean Air Programme for reduction of air pollution does not meet the mandate of sustainable development, the National Green Tribunal has directed the Union Environment Ministry to take action and ensure that the targeted time of pollution reduction is reduced.

A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “Violation of laid down air pollution levels resulting in a large number of deaths and diseases needs to be addressed expeditiously. Targeted time of reduction of pollution loads needs to be reduced and planned steps need to be sternly implemented on the ground.”

‘Undertake studies’

Directing the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to undertake carrying capacity studies to check air pollution, the green panel said, “… proper policies need to be prepared to deal with the number of vehicles beyond parking capacity or carrying capacity and permitting entry or registration of number of vehicles parking areas [and so on].”

The tribunal also directed monthly monitoring at the Chief Secretary-level across States.

The directions came when the green panel was hearing a matter pertaining to remedial measures to be adopted to enforce the ambient air quality standards in cities classified as “Non-Attainment Cities” NAC).

Additionally, the tribunal directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to issue fresh guidelines with regard to remediation of legacy waste sites.

“At least one site may be remediated and made a mode of compliance in each of the 122 NACs. Wherever legacy waste sites remediation has not commenced, it may commence earliest, having regard to the fact that timeline under statutory rules to complete such action is April 2021 and continued delay is detrimental to public health and environment,” the Bench said.

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