The Supreme Court criticized the governments of Punjab and Delhi on Tuesday for their failure to address the issue of toxic air pollution in the national capital. The court also expressed its support for farmers in Punjab who have been accused of contributing to the air quality crisis by burning agricultural waste.
The bench of Justices SK Kaul and S Dhulia directed both the Punjab and Delhi governments, which are both ruled by the Aam Aadmi Party, to take action against the burning of agricultural waste, which significantly adds to the air pollution in Delhi. The court emphasized that the problem is well-known and it is the responsibility of the state governments to control it.
While the court was critical of the governments of Punjab and Delhi, it showed sympathy towards the farmers in Punjab who have been burning crop waste or stubble. The court acknowledged that the farmers have not been represented in the hearing and stated that they must have reasons for resorting to this practice. The court urged the Punjab government to learn from Haryana’s approach of offering incentives to farmers to discourage stubble burning.
Every winter, Delhi and its surrounding regions experience extremely high levels of air pollution, leading to health concerns and the closure of schools and colleges. This morning, the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi was recorded at 323, indicating “very poor” air quality, according to data from the central government.
The Supreme Court’s intervention in this matter highlights the urgency and severity of the air pollution problem in Delhi. It emphasizes the need for immediate action by the state governments to address the issue and provides a ray of hope for the farmers in Punjab who have been facing criticism but have not had their voices heard.