The Supreme Court on Saturday said the Centre government should consider a two-day lockdown in the national capital if necessary, in order to bring down the pollution level in Delhi-NCR. The statement by the top court came while hearing a plea by a 17-year-old Delhi student, concerning rising levels of air pollution in Delhi. The top court had earlier directed the Centre to take steps and the Delhi government to file an affidavit in this regard.
A Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Raman, Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant said, "Tell us how we can reduce AQI from 500 by at least 200 points. Take some urgent measures. Can you think of two days lockdown or something? How can people live?"
The apex court said that air quality in Delhi is in the 'severe' category and in another two to three days it will dip further.
The court also asked the Centre to take an emergency decision.
"We will look at a long-term solution later," the court added.
The Supreme Court also stressed the reopening of schools in Delhi and said, "little children have to go to school in this weather, we are exposing them to this. Dr. Guleria (AIIMS) said we are exposing them to pollution, pandemic and dengue."
On this, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Centre told the Supreme Court that in today's meeting government will have to focus on the emergency situation of air pollution.
The Supreme Court also asked the Delhi government about its decision to install smog towers and emission control projects.
Meanwhile, the hearing was posted for November 15 as the top court asked the Centre to inform it about the steps taken to control air pollution.
The petition was filed seeking directions to provide free-of-cost stubble removing machines to small and marginal farmers to check high particulate matters in the air. The petitioners have sought the issuance of necessary directions to the Respondent-States to ensure the availability of appropriate stubble removing machines, free of cost, to the small and marginal farmers of the concerned states.
They argued that stubble fires in Punjab and Haryana are a direct result of the "inability of the small and marginal farmers to purchase or rent out stubble removal machines due to financial incapacity", which leaves them with no option but to burn the plant residue in their fields.
Delhi air quality today
Meanwhile, the air quality in Delhi remained in the 'severe' category on Saturday morning, with the AQI being recorded at 473. The air quality index of neighbouring areas of Noida and Gurgaon was recorded at 587 and 557 respectively.
The overall air quality index of Delhi was recorded at 473 at 10 am. In Delhi, the air quality index of Lodhi Road, Delhi University, IIT Delhi, Pusa Road l, and Delhi airport was recorded at 489, 466, 474 and 480 and 504 respectively, according to SAFAR.
An AQI between zero and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'.