Apex court asks Centre to publicise information on pollution

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday told the Centre that efforts to prevent air pollution, including from stubble-burning, cannot be limited to National Capital Region (NCR) and asked it to publicise information on the issue.

A Division Bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta asked the Centre to disseminate information on a high-level task force’s report so that people can be made aware that something is being done to prevent stubble-burning in states like Punjab and Haryana.

Amicus curiae lawyer Aparajita Singh, referring to court-mandated Environment Pollution Control Authority’s (EPCA) recommendations to the Ministry for Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF), said the EPCA had suggested the involvement of local bodies in preventing stubble-burning and use of satellite imagery to monitor it.

She said the system to manage crop straw should be advertised and include details about its impact on public health, including farmers and their children.

On November 23, 2016, a task force — comprising experts and senior officials of various departments — for the management of air pollution in NCR, which includes Delhi, was constituted by the Cabinet Secretariat.

The court was hearing a plea filed on the issue of severe air pollution in NCR-Delhi, including large-scale stubble-burning in neighbouring Haryana and Punjab.

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