The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Narendra Modi government to conduct a comparative study analysing the levels of pollution caused by both firecrackers and cars. Making a key observation, the top court asked, “why people are running after firecrackers and seeking ban on it when it seems that automobile is the bigger polluter.” The apex court also said that rights of those involved in making firecrackers can’t be overlooked. The Supreme Court asked, "what about the rights of the unemployed workers in cracker factories? Can't leave them hungry. We did not wish to generate unemployment. If the occupation is legal and duly licensed how can you stop it?". The top court has fixed the matter for further hearing on April 3 next month.
In a poignant remark on the sever pollution level in Delhi, a Supreme Court judge last month had said that he will not live in the National Capital after retirement as “it has become a gas chamber.” While hearing case on Delhi’s air pollution, Justice Arun Mishra had quipped that, “earlier I was attracted to live in Delhi, but now, no longer. There is so much pollution and traffic congestion.”
Recently, a Greenpeace study had revealed that seven of the world’s most polluted cities are in India with Gurugram being on top of the table. According to the data released by IQAir AirVisual and Greenpeace, Gurugram and six other Indian cities were in the top 10 list of the most polluted cities in the world. As per the study that measured the presence of fine particulate matter known as PM2.5, New Delhi has been ranked the most polluted capital in the world.
The six other Indian cities in the top 10 list are - Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Bhiwadi, Noida, Patna and Lucknow. In the list, two cities are of Pakistan - Lahore and Faisalabad and one is the Chinese city of Hotan.
Air pollution due to crop residue burning in northern India causes an estimated economic loss of $30 billion annually, and is a leading risk factor of acute respiratory infections, especially among children, according to a study unveiled. Researchers from the US-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and partner institutes found that living in districts with air pollution from intense crop residue burning (CRB) is a leading risk factor for acute respiratory infection (ARI), particularly in children less than five years of age.