SC slams CPCB for ‘sluggish’ response to alarming level of air pollution

New Delhi, Nov 10 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday chided the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for not having an “action plan” to deal with the current alarming level of air pollution, asking if it was waiting till people start dying.

“Do you want to wait till people start dying. The response cannot be sluggish. People are gasping for breath. People are in such a situation and you are waiting,” said the bench of Chief Justice T.S.Thakur, Justice A.K.Sikri and Justice S.A.Bobde as it pulled up the CPCB for its response to an emergency situation.

Asking the CPCB to take over the charge of the situation as dealing with pollution was its mandate, the court asked the apex pollution monitoring agency why was it had just three monitoring stations in the national capital and was not increasing their numbers.

“Where are your proposals for increasing the number of air pollution monitoring stations? If it were there, we would have seen it and found out where they were struck, the bench asked the CPCB Chairman S.P.Singh Parihar who told the court about what was being done by the agency.

Asking the CPCB to have a plan to deal with an emerging or prevailing situation, the bench wanted to know the location of its stations for monitoring the air quality so that there could be a clear picture.

It directed the meeting of all the stakeholders with Parihar on November 19, while asking all the stakeholders to send their suggestions to Parihar before meeting.

The bench said that CPCB in consultation with the government and other stakeholders would finalise a definite plan, specifying what steps would be taken to deal with a situation and which authorities or agencies would execute them in a time-bound manner.

Seeking the report on the definite action plan, the bench said that it would hear on the Friday the issue of restrictions on bursting of fire crackers as step to combat the alarming levels of air pollution.

–IANS

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