NGT: Savior and a Green Hope

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Delhi, with a population of more than 16 million is a home to people from all parts of the country and also one of the very first gates of entry whenever people from abroad come for a visit. The impression which it leaves stays in the minds of the people for a very longer period of time. Even, the rustle made by tree leaves does not go unnoticed in the country’s capital and is a view for the world’s eye. This city has the privilege of getting the VIP treatment, all the civic amenities are bestowed upon it and for every policy decision which the government takes, the very first implementation platform for it is Delhi.

Despite all such jewels which have been endowed on it, the city is now an open coffin for common people, the high and critical levels of pollutants present in its environment are the greatest threat to the city. There is a rise in the number of patients who are suffering from air borne disease at an alarming rate and the air is becoming denser and denser day by day, posing a visibility challenge to the people. The recent pictures which were shown by Dr. Naresh Trehan reveals that if nothing is done in this area then we must be ready to say goodbye to our loved ones. The pictures show two lungs, one of a 55 year old non-smoker who lives in Delhi and the other one of a 52 year old non-smoker living in Himachal Pradesh. The Himachal Pradesh picture shows a crystal clear image, a red and healthy one, while the Delhi one shows a blackened image indicating that it is full of tar. This picture is a see saw which implicates that Delhi is on a low side of healthy environment and this ebb will continue to deepen if proper recourse is not taken.

National Green Tribunal, established in the year 2010, has now taken up the job on its shoulder to clean up the heart of the country. This is the outcome which is a result seeing the redundancy and pendency attitude of the government towards this problem. The status is such that the Hon’ble Supreme Court asked the pollution control board to install air purifiers in the court campus so as to record the pollutant composition present in the air surrounding the campus. The National Green Tribunal commonly known as NGT is a body which adjudicates the matter which comes before it from the perspective of environment protection and conservation. Many projects which are cleared by the government under the banner of development are being brought to a halt by NGT as they are against the principles of sustainable development and there is no need for such development which degrades the environment in which we live.

The tribunal is currently chaired by Justice Swatanter Kumar who is on a war to curb the pollutants from the air of the National Capital Territory has made it very clear that pollution is not to be tolerated in the name of development; the decision on Ganga pollution is a clear indication towards this approach.

The most recent of all is the judgment delivered by NGT in the case of Vardhman Kaushik vs. Union of India and Sanjay Kulshrestha vs. Union of India, where the tribunal has given a decision which delivers the message that it is high time doing the job of advising and directing. Now, the time has come when the implementation of the same and job at the grass root level should be started so that the changes about which we all are talking could also be seen.

The NGT has taken the decision in the said judgment that all the diesel vehicles which are more than 10 years old present in Delhi, should be banned from running on the roads due to high emission of the pollutants by them. The tribunal has issued directions which are to be implemented by the administrative authorities in an effective manner. These directions include: (i) Age of all the vehicles which are permitted to run in NCT/Delhi respective of the energy and fuel, (ii) Cap on the number of the vehicles registered in NCT/Delhi respective of the energy and fuel, (iii) Incentives which are to be provided to the members of the public who uses collective ways of transportation, (iv) People who transfer the vehicles which are prohibited to run on the roads of the NCT/Delhi benefits should be provided to them, (v) The reason why the vehicles are being prohibited is because to bring a shift in the area of high density of traffic and pollution to lower density of such elements, (vi) Necessary steps to be taken like imposing higher registration charges on people who have more vehicles than the ordinary course of use for their own purposes. The tribunal has also asked for suggestions regarding curbing the evil of pollution which is growing day by day.

The above steps are now to be implemented by the bodies at a full-fledged level so that a clean and a better place can be created. The co-operation being provided to the NGT is also showing positive trends. The Government of NCT Delhi, under the leadership of Mr. Arvind Kejriwal has devised a plan regarding the operation of vehicles on the road. The plan states that on one day there will be cars running with an even registration number while on the consecutive day the cars with the odd numbers therefore bringing down the vehicle density everyday on the roads. This plan is facing a number of criticism, the major being that there will be an increase in the vehicles in the region as people will tend to keep two cars, one with even and the other one with an odd registration number thus nullifying the very objective of the plan formulated by the government and also proving to be a high factor in the already alarmed level of pollution in the region.

Instead opposing the government policy or strict NGT decisions people should provide a helping hand to the Government so that the black clouds over the city are swayed away with clear air to breathe. Co-operation is the call of the hour and if we don’t answer this call, the already suffering present generation will be building a death bed for the future generations to come.

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