In­dia en­vi­ron­men­tal watch­dog fines Delhi govern­ment over toxic smog

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - ENVIRONMENT -

IN­DIA’S en­vi­ron­men­tal watch­dog has slapped New Delhi’s govern­ment with a US$3.5 mil­lion fine for fail­ing to enforce rules to re­duce smog in the world’s most pol­luted ma­jor city, of­fi­cials said Tues­day.

In­dia’s en­vi­ron­men­tal watch­dog has slapped New Delhi’s govern­ment with a US$3.5 mil­lion fine for fail­ing to enforce rules to re­duce smog in the world’s most pol­luted ma­jor city, of­fi­cials said on Tues­day.

The Na­tional Green Tri­bunal pe­nalised the cap­i­tal ad­min­is­tra­tion for its lack of over­sight af­ter it emerged some pol­lut­ing in­dus­tries were still burn­ing harm­ful waste in the open.

The tri­bunal, a na­tional body tasked with rul­ing on en­vi­ron­men­tal mat­ters, had been hear­ing a plea from Delhi res­i­dents com­plain­ing about fac­to­ries flout­ing laws on trash fires.

It said the Delhi govern­ment needed to in­struct the court on how it would pro­ceed with tack­ling the an­nual cri­sis that plagues the cap­i­tal city of 20 mil­lion.

Each win­ter, Delhi chokes through haze so ex­treme that lev­els of air­borne pol­lu­tants rou­tinely eclipse safe lim­its by more than 30 times.

An es­ti­mated 1.1 mil­lion In­di­ans die pre­ma­turely from air pol­lu­tion ev­ery year.

The US em­bassy web­site in Delhi showed the level of harm­ful air­borne par­ti­cles hit 290 on Tues­day – nearly 12 times World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s safe lim­its.

Delhi, which has shut down power plants and banned heavy trucks from the city in a bid to curb smog, has ac­cused other states of not play­ing their part.

In par­tic­u­lar, the cap­i­tal has blamed gov­ern­ments in neigh­bour­ing Pun­jab and Haryana for crop fires that burn ev­ery year, send­ing smoke east­ward.

Acrid smoke from these fires min­gles with pol­lu­tants from cars, fac­to­ries and con­struc­tion sites in Delhi to cre­ate a lethal and per­sis­tent smog cock­tail.

Delhi is not the first state to be slapped with a fine by the green watch­dog, with West Ben­gal pe­nalised roughly US$700,000 for fail­ure to clear its smoggy skies.

Delhi was among 14 In­dian cities that fig­ured in a list of the 20 most pol­luted cities across the globe this year is­sued by the WHO. — AFP

Each win­ter, Delhi chokes through haze so ex­treme that lev­els of air­borne pol­lu­tants rou­tinely eclipse safe lim­its by more than 30 times. — AFP photo

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