New Delhi: Air quality of Delhi and nearby states is deteriorating day by day and has attained alarming proportions, the Delhi High Court on Thursday said while asking the Centre and Punjab government to work out a plan to stop from this year paddy straw burning in the state, a major contributor to air pollution.
“Punjab has stated in its affidavit filed in the court that by year 2019-2020 there would be a complete ban on the burning of the paddy residues. It means that the stubble burning would continue in year 2017, 2018 and 2019 as well, which is a major contributor of air pollution in Delhi and nearby states,” a bench of Justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Ashutosh Kumar observed. “We are of the view that the air quality of Delhi and nearby states is already deteriorating day by day and has attained alarming proportions,” the bench said and directed that the Punjab and the central governments should work out a plan to ensure there is no burning of paddy residues from the year 2017 itself.
“Air pollution is troublesome issue. It is matter of life and death. It is a health-related issue. How can we ignore it,” the bench said, adding that “when we can stop certain currency from use, why can’t stubble burning be stopped.” The court’s direction came after perusing the affidavit filed on behalf of the state of Punjab, which stated that approximately 14 million tonnes of paddy straw is burnt each year, particularly in October-November.
“This would mean that there would be approximately about 9,000 tonnes of PM 2.5 which is emitted because of the paddy straw burning. Similarly, the figure for PM 10 (which includes PM 2.5) would be 10,000 tonnes. These are alarming statistics, and particularly so, as they are the major contributors to air pollution in Delhi,” the court said in its order. The Punjab government’s response came on a PIL initiated by the high court on its own on the issue of alarming levels of air pollution in the national capital.PTI