The Supreme Court on Saturday suggested the Centre impose a two-day lockdown to tackle air pollution in the National Capital.
A Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant said, "Tell us how we can reduce AQI from 500 at least by 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 asked the Centre to take an emergency decision. "We will look at a long term solution later," the court added.
The Supreme Court told the Centre during a hearing on plea on air pollution in Delhi — 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.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Centre told that 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 what happened to its decision to install smog towers and emission control projects.
Supreme Court told the Delhi government that it has opened all schools in the national capital and now children lungs are exposed to the pollutants. "This is not the Centre's but your jurisdiction. What is happening on that front?" the apex court asked the Delhi government.
The Supreme Court also questioned the Centre over blaming farmers alone for the rising pollution levels, saying, “Why are you projecting like (the) pollution is because of farmers? It is only certain percentage of pollution. What about the rest? What are you doing to control the pollution in Delhi?”
The Supreme Court posted the hearing of the air pollution case on 15 November and asked the Centre to inform it about the steps taken to control it.
The Supreme Court’s hearing came as Delhi woke up to a thick layer of smog and an air quality index measuring 499 on Saturday.
The Ministry of Earth Science's air quality monitor, System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), placed Delhi's air quality in the 'severe' category.
According to the government agencies, an AQI between 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 is satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor and 401-500 are marked as severe/hazardous.
On Friday too, Delhi suffered from poor air quality with an AQI of 471. The high levels prompted authorities to instruct citizens to avoid outdoor activities and told government and private offices to cut vehicle use by at least 30 percent.
The situation in Delhi has been exacerbated by the farm fires, which according to authorities accounted for 35 percent of the pollution on Friday.
According to an analysis by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, people in Delhi breathe the worst air between 1 November and 15 November every year. The city has recorded severe air quality on six of the last eight days after Diwali.
Meanwhile, Noida in Uttar Pradesh also recorded ‘severe’ air quality with the concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 particles standing at 772 and 523 respectively. Haryana’s Gurugram, too, witnessed ‘severe’ air pollution level.
With inputs from agencies