A petition claiming that ambient air quality in Meerut was worse than in Delhi and seeking curbs on the entry of 10-year old diesel vehicles on Tuesday prompted the NGT to seek responses from the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, UP government, Central Pollution Control Board, state pollution control board, Meerut Development Authority, UP Road Transport Corporation while seeking their reply before April 10.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) was hearing a plea filed by Meerut resident Lokesh Khurana seeking directions to restrict entry of diesel vehicles more than 10 years old and petrol vehicles which are more 15 years old.
It referred to a study conducted by Centre of Science and Environment which stated that air pollution of Meerut is more severe than Delhi and PM 2.5 concentration in the city was 1470 micrograms per cubic meter as against the safe limit of 60 micrograms per cubic metre.
"It is pertinent to mention that between November 2016 to January 2017, the pollutions levels of Meerut city was reported more than 10 times of the prescribed standards and even some cases worse than Delhi. But unfortunately the respondent authorities have failed to take any action to mitigate the situation or failed to take any preventive steps for future.
"That the major contributor of the pollution in Meerut is vehicular pollution, emissions from industries, burning of waste and dust generated during construction activities among other things," the plea, filed through advocate Salik Shafique, said.
Referring to the media reports, the plea said the particulate matter (PM2.5) level stood at 480 micrograms per cubic metre as against the prescribed national standard of 40 micrograms per cubic metre, which is lethal for human health especially for senior citizens and young children who are more vulnerable to pollution.
Khurana said that despite such a "disastrous" condition, no action was taken either by the district administration or the state pollution control board and there was no action taken against "illegal industries, old diesel vehicles, brick kilns, construction activities, burning of waste and vehicles running without pollution control certificate by the authorities."