Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding dust pollution, 03/12/2020
Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of R. S. Virk Vs Central Pollution Control Board dated 03/12/2020. This application seeks remedial action to mitigate the impact of dust pollution arising out of dry sweeping of roads in metro cities. According to the applicant, dust pollution contributes to about 43% of the air pollution.
The NGT noted that as per ‘Air Quality Monitoring Emission Inventory & Source Apportionment Studies’ for Delhi conducted by the NEERI, Nagpur in December, 2018, dust pollution was noted to be one of the contributors to the air pollution of Delhi. The contribution of road dust was found to be 52.5% to PM10 emissions. The sources of dust pollution are wind blown, natural dust, road dust, re-suspension, construction dust and particles generated from combustion sources.
It was observed that the dust components can be controlled. Also, in the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) for Delhi and NCR prepared by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), there is a provision for “increase frequency of mechanized cleaning of road and sprinkling of water on roads.
The NGT directed the Municipal Corporations, public works department (PWD) and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to identify road stretches with high dust generation. In view of acknowledged fact that dust pollution is significant component of air pollution and sweeping of roads is one of the sources of dust pollution sprinkling of water before sweeping of roads including the pavements needs to be explored, the tribunal said.
The water to be used for the purpose of sprinkling must be treated STP water and not the fresh water. Further mitigation which may be considered is planting of grass/raising small herbs and shrubs on the sides of the pavements and on open dusty areas including the areas on the sides of the pavements. The pavements may also be appropriately covered so as to prevent generation of dust, the order of December 3, 2020 said.
All the Municipal Corporations/Local Bodies have to send their reports to the Principal Secretary, Environment of the State, heading the Air Quality Monitoring Committee (AQMC) once in a quarter. First such report has to be furnished by February 1, 2021, mentioning the steps initiated and thereafter every quarter such action taken reports may be furnished. The Principal Secretary, Environment heading the AQMCs would compile the data and furnish the same to the CPCB. First such report by AQMCs has to be furnished to the CPCB by February 28, 2021.