The Supreme Court in its hearing on Air pollution matter on Wednesday slammed the Punjab government for "miserably failing" in its duty to tackle the problem of stubble burning. It also criticized the state governments of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana were present in the Court. The SC bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said that nobody will be spared if found violating rules and regulations and directed to ensure that no stubble burning takes place.
Justice Mishra asked the Punjab Chief Secretary, "Do you have funds? If you don't, then please tell us, we will provide you with funds for dealing with the issue of stubble burning." He added, "We want immediate action to deal with stubble burning. It seems that there is no coordination among the officers and the state government to deal with this situation." Justice Deepak Gupta also questioned the Punjab government by saying, "If Haryana can bring it down, then why isn’t Punjab doing this?"
Supreme Court also said it is a question of life and death of crores of people in Delhi-NCR region which is facing severe air pollution and the authorities have to be held responsible for its failure to curb it. "Can you permit people to die like this due to pollution? Can you permit the country to go back by 100 years." observed the bench. We have to make government responsible for this," the bench said and asked, "Why can't govt machinery stop stubble burning?
Amid the fluctuating air quality in the capital, schools have reopened after an extended Diwali break. Students were seen using anti-pollution masks to prevent health hazards. Owing to the deteriorating air conditions, the Delhi government decided to shut all schools till November 5. The Supreme Court had passed the mandated and declared a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR region in the wake of the rising level of pollution. While the pollution level has decreased, the Air Quality Index still remains in the 'poor' category.
According to the AQI data, On November 6, a major pollutant PM 2.5 is at 279 and PM 10 is at 250, both in the 'poor' category in the Lodhi Road area. An AQI between 0-50 is considered 'good', 51-100 'satisfactory', 101-200 'moderate', 201-300 'poor', 301-400 'very poor' and 401-500 'severe'. An AQI above 500 falls in the 'severe plus' category. Taking cognisance of air pollution levels in Delhi-NCR after it crossed the "hazardous" category, Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority on November 1 declared a public health emergency.