New air pollution laws in Delhi-NCR — Non-compliance could lead to ₹1 crore fine, 5 years in jail

New air pollution laws in Delhi-NCR — Non-compliance could lead to ₹1 crore fine, 5 years in jail
BCCL
  • During the hearing of a PIL seeking ban on stubble burning, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had informed the Supreme Court that the Centre will enact a law to combat the menace of air pollution in Delhi-NCR.
  • The Committee will monitor issues like stubble burning, vehicular pollution, dust pollution.
  • The air pollution reaches a peak in Delhi and surrounding regions every winter. The pollution from stubble burning, when combined with suspended water droplets in the lower atmosphere, form a thick blanket of noxious smog.
The Indian government has introduced a new ordinance that makes polluting air in Delhi-NCR a punishable offence — with up to five years of jail and ₹1 crore fine.

This comes after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, during the hearing of a PIL seeking a ban on stubble burning, had informed the Supreme Court that the Centre would enact a law to combat the menace of air pollution in Delhi-NCR.

According to the ordinance, a Commission for Air Quality Management will be set up for the National Capital Region (NCR) and adjoining areas in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

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"Any non-compliance of this Ordinance, rules made there under or any other order or direction issued by the Commission shall be an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to five years or with fine which may extend up to one crore rupees or with both", said the ordinance.

The 18-member Commission will be headed by a full-time chairperson who has been a secretary to the government of India or the Chief Secretary of a state. Out of the 18 members, 10 will be bureaucrats, while others are experts and activists. The Committee will monitor issues like stubble burning, vehicular pollution, dust pollution.

The deteriorating air quality of the National Capital Region and adjoining areas has been a serious problem over the past few years.

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The air pollution reaches a peak in Delhi and surrounding regions every winter. The pollution from stubble burning, when combined with suspended water droplets in the lower atmosphere, form a thick blanket of noxious smog.

In 2019 alone, air pollution killed an estimated 1.67 million people in the country, according to the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study. However, little has been done to address the problem. The Kejriwal government didn’t pass a single bill to protect the environment in the last five years, and has also been criticised by the Supreme Court for carelessness.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic this year, the impact of pollution may be fatal as it compromised the immune system.

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