NGT Directs NCR Local Bodies to Ensure Sprinkling Water Before Sweeping Roads

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The National Green Tribunal (NGT), Principal Bench, dated 4th December 2020, had directed all the Municipal Corporations and Local Bodies in the national capital region and other cities with air quality ‘poor’ and worse, to take steps to ensure sprinkling of water before sweeping of roads.

Facts of the case

The application was filed by RS Virk who sought remedial action to mitigate the impact of dust pollution arising out of dry sweeping of roads in metro cities.

Arguments before the Court

The applicant contended before the court that dust pollution contributes to about 43 percent of the air pollution. 

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The applicant suggested that dust suppressants be used along with water as a remedial measure.

Analysis

The tribunal took reference of the judgment by the Supreme Court of India, wherein, it was stated that dust pollution is a significant component of air pollution and that sweeping of roads is one of the sources of dust pollution sprinkling of water before sweeping of roads including the pavements needs to be explored.

Court’s Observation and Decision

After hearing the contentions of the applicant, a bench of the NGT, headed by its chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, directed to take further steps to plant grass, raise small herbs and shrubs on the sides of the pavements and road shoulders and on open dusty areas. 

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The Bench also said the pavements may also be appropriately covered so as to prevent the generation of dust.

Furthermore, the bench directed all the Municipal Corporations/local bodies in NCR where air quality levels are normally non-compliant and in all other cities with the air quality ‘poor’ and above to take necessary steps to ensure sprinkling of water before sweeping of roads, using treated water from STPs, and take further steps of the planting of grass/raising small herbs and shrubs on the sides of the pavements/road shoulders and on open dusty areas, including the areas on the sides of the pavements/right of way.

The tribunal said that attention also needs to be given to stop the burning of biomass/waste and regulate construction and demolition activities following the laid guidelines and protocols under the Graded Response Action Plan/National Clean Air Programme.

The Bench directed all the Municipal Corporations and Local Bodies may send their reports to the Principal Secretary, Environment of the State, heading the Air Quality Monitoring Committees (AQMCs), and then the Principal Secretary, Environment heading the AQMCs will compile the data and furnish the same to the Central Pollution Control Board.


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