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Delhi Air Quality: It’s an Emergency Situation, We are Wearing Masks at Home, Says SC

Delhi government calls high-level meeting. SC bench says farmers alone can’t be blamed, points at fire crackers and vehicle pollution.
delhi air quality

Representational image. | Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

New Delhi: Even as Delhi Chief Minister called a high-level emergency meeting to discuss the grave air pollution situation in the city, the Supreme Court on Saturday termed the situation in Delhi-NCR an "emergency" and asked the Centre and the Delhi government to take emergency measures to improve the air quality. It even seemed to suggest a two- day lockdown to bring the situation under control.

"We have been forced to wear masks at home also, the situation is very serious," the Chief Justice of Indian N V Ramanna was quoted as saying by Bar & Bench.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said there is stubble burning in Punjab.

The bench, however, said, "Your projection is as if farmers are only responsible. What about steps taken to contain the pollution in Delhi?

Mehta clarified that he was not even remotely suggesting that only farmers are responsible.

"Everybody has the passion of blaming farmers. Have you seen how crackers are being burnt in Delhi for the last seven days? It is an emergency situation, multiple measures are needed to be taken on the ground level," the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant, said.

CJI Ramanna said: "Some percentage of contribution is by stubble burning but other causes are industrial, vehicle pollution. Tell us how immediately we can improve air quality index by 200 points.”

The apex court has asked the Centre to revert on Monday.

The top court also took note of the fact that schools have opened in the national capital and asked the authorities to take immediate measures such as stopping vehicles or imposing a lockdown in Delhi.

The Delhi government is holding a meeting at 5 pm to be attended by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Health Minister Satyendar Jain, Environment Minister Gopal Rai and Delhi Chief Secretary Rajiv Gauba, officials said.

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