A plea was filed by a 17 years old boy Aditya Dubey seeking measures to check harmful air pollution. The top court asked the Centre to impose a 2 days complete lockdown in Delhi in order to curb increasing levels of air pollution. A three-judge bench heard this plea and after detailed arguments, concluded that traffic, industries, and transport are also major causes of air pollution. It is not just about stubble burning which is only 4% of air pollution.
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On Monday, the Supreme Court of India observed that stubble burning is responsible only for 4% of air pollution. The Centre’s affidavit states 24% air pollution is caused by transport, 27% by dust and 75% is by industries.
“You accept farm fires are not a major cause of pollution. So the hue and cry over stubble burning has no legal or scientific basis?” Justice Surya Kant, who was part of the three-judge bench said.
“In fact now the cat is out of the bag… So we are targeting something which is totally insignificant,” Justice DY Chandrachud, the third judge on the bench, said.
Cry over stubble burning over nothing
An emergency meeting was held by an Executive Committee including state governments of Haryana, Punjab and Delhi, and secretaries of the Centre. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said, stubble burning contributes less than 10% air pollution.
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He also informed the SC on measures to be considered to curb air pollution in this meeting.
The center said during the hearing that Punjab must “buckle up” and handle stubble burning. The top court observed that it became a “fashion” to bash farmers.
“You are making it as if farmers are responsible for this,” CJI Ramana said. The top judge said that a percentage of the worsening air quality could be because of stubble burning, however other causes included vehicular pollution, firecrackers, industrial pollution etc.
This issue has been highlighted due to upcoming assembly elections in the state of Punjab. The SC may go easy against farmers in regard to taking action against people who are guilty of stubble burning.
In the last 10 days, 42,285 incidents have been recorded of a cumulative fire count of 62,863. The EC observed that it should be controlled.
On Monday, The SC also directed states in NCR and centre to impose work from home.
“The way we expected the executive to discuss and come up with a solution has not been done. This is unfortunate,” CJI NV Ramana said, expressing the bench’s disappointment over the lack of proper consensus by the Executive Committee that convened over the weekend for an emergency meeting to consider measures to tackle air pollution.
“Broadly all affidavits indicate that stubble burning does not cause much pollution but even then, a good amount is taking place in Haryana and Punjab. We request state governments to pursue the farmers to stop the burning for a week,” the court noted in its order.
“Don’t punish farmers but persuade them and give them options so that they don’t burn stubble,” the bench observed.
The Delhi government told the SC that it was ready to impose a lockdown provided the Centre mandated. It will cover the entire NCR region which includes eight districts in UP and 13 districts in Haryana.
“We can have a lockdown also but since we don’t have air boundaries, the central government can consider having it in the entire NCR and lockdown has to be imposed as a whole,” senior advocate Rahul Mehra said while representing the Delhi government.
USAID, Monsanto & Delhi Air Pollution
The Delhi metropolitan area has one of the world’s highest concentrations of population, and suffocating people here on an annual basis should be treated as a crime against humanity, especially when it can be controlled.
However, nobody wants to address the real cause of the issue – the role of USAID and Monsanto in Delhi’s air pollution spike.
Delhi’s air pollution problem started right after the controversial USAID and Monsanto backed law was implemented. Before this law was passed, the problem in Delhi was limited to vehicular and industrial pollution and there were no reports of the entire metropolitan area being enveloped by smoke.
Over a period of several years, it has used the fraudulent excuse of preventing the decline of groundwater to push their agenda.