Pinnacle Court directs the union government to hold emergency meetings, and asks states to consider work from home regarding the rise of air pollution levels in National Capital Territory

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The union and states should take work-from-home for their employees in and around Delhi and farmers should be persuaded to not burn farm waste to cut down pollution, the Supreme Court said Monday, as it took up the capital's air quality crisis.

Delhi recorded a 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of 330 on Sunday compared to 437 the previous day as emissions from farm fires in Haryana and Punjab dropped significantly. The AQI was around 471 on Friday, the worst this season so far.

The apex court has also asked the Centre to share the steps taken so far to curb pollution. Additionally, the Centre will share the steps likely to be taken to improve the air quality index and bring it down to at least 200 points from the current level which has been above 500 on average.

“GNCTD (Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi) is ready to take steps like complete lockdown to control the local emissions. However, such a step would be meaningful if it is implemented across the NCR areas in neighbouring states. Given Delhi’s compact size, a lockdown would have limited impact on the air quality regime. This issue would need to be addressed at the level of airshed involving NCR areas. In view of the above, we are ready to consider this step if the same is mandated for the entire NCR areas by the government of India or by the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and adjoining areas,” an affidavit filed by the Delhi government said. The affidavit was submitted in response to a plea filed by environmental activist Aditya Dubey and law student Aman Banka, who sought directions to provide stubble-removing machines to small and marginal farmers for free.

The Supreme Court  finally concluded stating that major culprits of air pollution are transport, industries, vehicular traffic apart from stubble burning in some areas.

The Supreme Court has asked the Centre and States of NCR region to consider work from home for the employees in the meantime; also asks Chief secretaries of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana to be present for tomorrow’s emergency meeting by the Centre.