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The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Centre and the Delhi government, saying “there is passing of buck”. People are losing precious years of their lives due to pollution, and governments at the centre and the state keeping saying “Centre should do.. state should do”. This can’t go on.  A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said adding that Delhi and surrounding areas were facing a public health emergency due to severe air pollution.

“Everybody is interested in gimmicks and elections,” Justice Mishra said as the court took up a report by the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) on the pollution caused by stubble-burning and other reasons that led to the present situation in the capital. The pollution control body had asked the states in the National Capital Region to stop burning of waste, toxic emissions from industries and dust from construction sites. “Can we survive in this atmosphere? This is not the way we can survive. No one is safe even inside homes; it is atrocious,” a bench headed by Justice Mishra said.

“Delhi is choking every year and we are not able to do anything. Question is that every year this is happening,” the bench said, adding, “People are dying and it can’t happen in a civilised country”.

The EPCA in its report has among other things sought directions to NCR states to take steps to stop burning of waste, toxic emissions from industries and dust from construction sites.

In its report, which was considered by the top court, the EPCA has said that though Delhi has been able improve annual air pollution load on the city from 2010 till now, the “city still needs to reduce pollution levels by 65 per cent to meet the national air quality standards”.

—India Legal Bureau

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