With air pollution rising to alarming levels, especially in the National capital, the Environment Ministry has urged the Supreme Court to ask the Delhi government to consider drastic steps, which includes the plying of private cars only on alternate days and a complete ban on “visible” smoke-emitting vehicles.
Other suggestions made by the ministry were making public transport free, and making the wearing of masks compulsory on highly polluted days.
These suggestions were made in an affidavit filed before the court, which is monitoring various measures being taken to reduce pollution.
“All these are crucial aspects in which the views of government of Delhi and Health Ministry may be sought”, the ministry told the court.
The report said the major source of air pollution in the Capital is dust particles and not vehicular emissions.
“Road dust emerged as the most prominent source with contribution in the range of 14.5 per cent to 29 per cent, whereas the contribution of vehicles was in the range of 8.7 per cent to 20.5 per cent,” it said.
The affidavit came in response to various suggestions mooted by the Central Pollution Control Board and the Environment pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority in a report submitted to the Apex court in November.
The panels said pollution was the fifth-biggest killer in India after high blood pressure, indoor air pollution from cooking fuels, tobacco smoking and poor nutrition.
As per the EPCA report, residents of Delhi and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh have more reasons to worry as the two are among the five critically polluted cities.
Other measures suggested also include the closure of all schools and a ban on plying of private cars (only public transport to be allowed), and complete prohibition on the entry of commercial vehicles on days air pollution is very severe and toxic for human health.