SC takes tough stance in fight against air pollution; Central Pollution Control Board has created social media accounts to lodge grievances
Taking a tough stance against dereliction of duties by officials in fight against air pollution in the Capital, the Supreme Court on Monday asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to initiate prosecution against the officials who failed to act on pollution-related complaints.
A Bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta said that government officials, who have failed to act on about 249 complaints received on its official social media and e-mail accounts with regard to pollution in Delhi, were required to be prosecuted.
“Why don’t you prosecute these officials? You should prosecute them. Let these people realise what they have done,” the Bench told Additional Solicitor General A.N.S. Nadkarni, who was representing the CPCB.
The ASG said that the Board will look into the court’s suggestion to prosecute the officials responsible for not acting on the complaints.
In a departure from the previous practices, the CPCB has created social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook where citizens could lodge their complaints about pollution in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR).
“As on November 23, the Twitter handle received 737 tweets and is being followed by 1,441 people with an outreach of 1.42 lakh while the Facebook page has an engagement of 1,872 people with an outreach on 44,887 and 419 followers,” the CPCB said.
Number of complaints
Mr. Nadkarni said that from November 1-22, the pollution body received 749 air pollution complaints on their social media accounts and action was taken on around 500 such complaints.
“The inspecting teams of the CPCB have taken spot measures such as dousing of fire by calling fire tenders, covering of construction material, instructions to responsible persons, issuance of challans, etc., during the campaign. Some complaints were also lodged on Sameer App for necessary action by nodal agencies,” the CPCB said.
Sameer App provides hourly update of national air quality index (AQI).
The Board said that as per analysis of complaints during the clean air campaign, the highest number of air pollution incidents relates to construction and demolition activities, followed by burning of waste, road dust, unpaved areas/roads, traffic congestion and industrial emissions.
It said that spatial distribution of different types of air pollution complaints in Delhi-NCR indicated that the construction and demolition-related pollution problem was more prominent in western and south-western parts of Delhi.
It said that while incidents of waste burning were highest in the eastern part of the city, in trans-Yamuna area, incidents of industrial emissions and illegal industrial activities were prominent in north-west areas followed by north-eastern part of Delhi.