The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday fined the Delhi government 25 crore for failing to take action to curb pollution in the capital, despite clear directions from the tribunal to do so.
The NGT also said that failing to pay the fine within the stipulated time would result in a further penalty of Rs 10 crore per month. This is a means to ensure the government takes definitive steps to fighting air pollution. In Faridabad and Gurgaon, the air quality was "poor" and "moderate" respectively, the CPCB data showed.
A bench of Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justices S.P. Wangdi, K. Ramakrishnan and Expert Member Dr. Nagin Nanda passed the orders while taking up compliance with the tribunal's orders.
Bhure Lal, chairperson of the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), also chastised Delhi's civic and urban bodies for passing the buck.
In an affidavit, the CPCB said that 52 teams of personnel had attended to 500 of the 749 complaints received by the board till November 22 as part of its clean air campaign in Delhi. He said enforcing agencies were "completely dormant" and bodies like the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) were indulging in a blame game.
"Burning of plastics and related waste materials continues unabated, contributing in major proportions to the already severely polluted, uninhalable air of Delhi and National Capital Region", he said. Delhi's air quality has been in the "very poor" category for the past one week but on Saturday it had improved to "poor" category for a brief period.
On Monday, air quality in Delhi oscillated between "poor" and "very poor" categories due to local pollutants as authorities predicted a further rise in the pollution level. It again slipped into "very poor" category on Sunday. The CPCB recorded an overall AQI of 314, which falls in the "very poor" category. The PM2.5 level was recorded at 174 μg/m and the PM10 level at 358 μg/m, according to the Indian Express.