New Delhi:The Supreme Court Monday prohibited the plying of 15-year-old petrol and 10-year-old diesel vehicles in the national capital region (NCR) and directed the transport department to announce that such vehicles would be impounded if found plying. Terming as “very critical” the prevailing situation of pollution in Delhi-NCR region, the apex court directed that a list of 15-year-old petrol and 10-year-old diesel vehicles be published on the web site of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and transport department.The Supreme Court also ordered the transport department and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to display the list of all the older vehicles on their websites so that they can be impounded. The city has been grappling with air pollution compounded by vehicular emissions with substandard filtrations. On Monday, the air quality in Delhi has remained in the ‘very poor’ category with an overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of 348.
The apex court also directed the CPCB to make a social media account on which citizens can complain about pollution.A bench led by justice MB Lokur ordered the department to prepare a list of such vehicles and publish it on the websites of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the transport department.An advertisement to this effect should also be published in newspapers, the court said, as it also banned the entry of commercial diesel vehicles more than 10 years old in Delhi.CPCB was also ordered to create a social media account on which citizens can lodge complaints on pollution and report violations.
Appropriate action would be taken by authorities concerned on such complaints, the court said.The Supreme Court issued its directions after advocate Aparajita Singh’s application pointed to a complete absence of effective complaint mechanism where citizens can lodge a complaint and expect prompt action.The pollution control body told the Supreme Court that heavy commercial vehicles release very high levels of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide into the environment.It pointed in its report that taxis like Ola, Uber travel 400 km per day, as against personal cars that travel 55 km per day due to which even if these vehicles use CNG, their net contribution to pollution will be high.”This requires restrain on the trucks entering Delhi and on ensuring that there is reduction in overall personal vehicle and that even taxi use is controlled through augmented bus and metro services,” the report said, adding para-transit like taxi and autorickshaw must use the cleanest fuel and technology.
The EPCA filed a report on the status of implementation of orders on air pollution in NCR and on the further directions needed, given the severity of the problem in winter.The EPCA’s report suggested measures such as cleaning up vehicles through technology and to reduce and restrain the growth of individual vehicles through massively augmented public transport systems, so as to re-check the sources of pollution.The report cited the 2018 Emission Inventory of Delhi, released by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, according to which there has been a 40 per cent increase in vehicular pollution between 2010 and 2018 in Delhi and its adjoining areas, thereby making them the key contributors to air pollution in the national capital.Out of all the vehicles, heavy commercial ones like trucks and other commercial vehicles such as taxis are the major polluting source, with very high carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, it said.The report stressed on the fact that industries now contribute upto 18 per cent of the air pollution in the city and that industrial pollution has increased by a whopping 48 per cent between 2010 and 2018.