The National Green Tribunal today directed environment audit of all the government buildings, including offices and hospitals, in Delhi to control pollution so that public health is not adversely affected.
The bench passed the directions while observing that “right to clean environment is a fundamental right and every citizen, wherever he goes, has a right to receive decent environment”.
“Being aware of the seriousness of environment problem in Delhi, particularly air pollution, we direct all government buildings, including offices, hospitals, schools and colleges, shall be subjected to minimum environment audit.
“This will include collection and dispensation of solid waste, indoor air quality system and sewage system,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar said.
The bench also comprising judicial members, justices U D Salvi and Raghuvendra S Rathore, and expert members Bikram Singh Sajwan and Ajay A Deshpande, however, made it clear that it was “not ordering government buildings to be converted into green buildings”.
“The purpose is that every government building should take necessary precautions to control pollution so that no hazardous result follows in relation to public health.
“The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) shall issue guidelines in this regard within two weeks from today under the provisions of the Environment Protection Act, the Air (Prevention and control of pollution) Act and the Water (Prevention and control of pollution) Act,” the bench said.
It fixed the matter for further proceedings on November 28.
The directions came during the hearing of a petition filed by Vardhaman Kaushik over worsening air quality in Delhi.
Meanwhile, Delhi Police’ counsel made submissions describing the difficulties coming on way in implementation and enforcement of directions earlier issued by the tribunal which gave liberty to other parties to file their response on it by the next date of hearing.
The bench said Delhi Police shall maintain separate accounts for collections of environment compensation and other charges to be recovered by it under the NGT order.
During the hearing, the tribunal was unhappy over the absence of the counsel for DDA in the matter and said absence of the agency’s representative in such important cases will not be tolerated in future. “You (DDA) are responsible for creating such chaos in Delhi,” it said.
( Source – PTI )