National Green Tribunal observes that one of the major sources of air pollution is dust emission from construction activities, which must be stopped to avoid pollution-related diseases and deaths.
By Rakesh Raman
In order to save the lives of Delhi citizens from increasing levels of pollution in the city, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has decided to take some punitive measures against those who are polluting the environment.
Of late, NGT observed that one of the major sources of air pollution is dust emission from construction activities, which must be stopped to avoid pollution-related diseases and deaths.
Referring to the latest April 2015 reports, NGT said that huge dust emission is resulting from construction activities in various parts of Delhi. The reports, according to NGT, show huge activity emitting very high dust components and emitting the same in the air.
Although all forms of pollution such as air pollution, dust pollution, noise pollution, water pollution, littering, and thermal pollution are hazardous for humans, India’s capital Delhi – which is the most polluted city in the world – is facing an immediate threat from dust pollution.
The pollution mainly occurs due to mishandling of debris and building waste material, carriage and storage of construction material and as no steps are taken for environment protection by the builders during the course of the construction, NGT stated in a recent order.
The NGT observations hold added significance, as the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) along with India’s Ministry of Urban Development is considering a proposal about building extensions under increased Floor Area Ratio (FAR) scheme in the existing group housing societies, besides other major construction projects.
The new NGT order is expected to thwart the unchecked construction activity particularly in group housing societies because they tend to violate environmental norms. It is observed that the additional dust pollution in the inhabited housing complexes is adding fuel to the fire, as people are already experiencing enormous health risks because of environmental pollution.
Now, the new constructions in the existing housing complexes of Delhi are expected to be stopped. While it is learnt that DDA is planning to take a fee and legalize the extended constructions which are already done in some group housing societies that used unfair means to take approvals, chances are that these extended building structures will be demolished. And the people behind any illegal constructions will be punished.
According to the National Green Tribunal Act 2010, among other penalties, the offenders under the environment protection regulations may be punished with imprisonment up to 3 years or fine which may go up to Rs. 10 crore or with both.
NGT warned that the concrete dust in the air can be lethal when it combines with particulate matter arising from vehicular emission.
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A judicial bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the state of U.P., Noida and Greater Noida Authority, HUDA, State of Haryana and Delhi to immediately stop construction activities where construction is being carried out in violation to the direction of NGT as well as the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) guidelines of 2010.
This action shall be taken and complied with by all the state government authorities and police of each district particularly falling in the National Capital Region (NCR) Delhi, the NGT order said.
The NGT bench ordered that the compliance report shall be submitted by the next date that is 10th April, 2015 to the Tribunal. Wherever the construction activities are not stopped by service of this order by the authorities upon the builders, the authority shall seal such building and report the matter to the Tribunal, the NGT order stated.
Further, it is reported that NGT has ordered a complete stoppage of construction activity that violates the environment norms in Delhi and NCR, including Gurgaon and Noida. Reportedly, NGT has stated that a citizen’s “right to live” must not be compromised for “small economic gains.”
If the NGT order is implemented in letter and spirit, the Delhi residents can hope to breathe some clean air and thus heave a sigh of relief.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has been established under the National Green Tribunal Act for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection. Its scope includes enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to affected persons and property.
NGT has been enacted under India’s constitutional provision of Article 21, which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment.
You also can read: More Articles by the RMN Editor, Rakesh Raman
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