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NGT seeks replies from Centre, Delhi govt over plea by six children on pollution

Affected by alarming levels of air pollution caused by industries in West Delhi, six children have moved the National Green Tribunal, prompting it to seek a reply from the Centre and the Delhi government.

A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the Ministries of Environment and Urban Development, Delhi government, Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Central Pollution Control Board and others seeking their replies in two weeks.

The matter is now listed for next hearing on January 27.

The Tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Umesh Kumar, Aditi Bhardwaj, Abdul Razzaq, Harsh Dahiya, Prince Lakra and Vivekanand through their legal guardians seeking directions to prepare a time-bound action plan to curb pollution in West Delhi’s Mundka and Kirari areas, including creation of green spaces there.

The Supreme Court rules permit minors to file petitions for protection of their fundamental rights through their parents and guardians who term themselves as ‘next friends’.

Highlighting the alarming levels of air pollution in the area, the plea, filed through advocates Rahul Choudhary and Meera Gopal, said the presence of thousands of industries in the already over-congested area has worsened the condition.

“In addition to industrial pollutants, heavy vehicular movement can also be witnessed in this area, particularly with presence of commercial area with big godowns warehouses which has further affected ambient air quality and the environment.

“It is submitted that there is negligible green lung or green buffer in the whole stretch to absorb the pollution.

Also, the tree count of this area is very low which further exacerbates the situation,” the plea said.

There were around 50 schools in the area with more than one lakh students, many of whom were suffering from breathing problems especially during winters as the polluting gases concentrate during this period.

“There are around 1,42,242 households here in about 4,626 acre including industrial and commercial area. Out of the total 4,626 acre of land, approximately 1,400 acre (30 per cent of total area) have been carved out as industrial area.

“Around 325 acre (7 per cent of total area) is commercial area, and 2,875 acre (62 per cent of total area) as residential in form of colonies and villages and negligible amount of approximately 1 per cent as green area,” the plea said while seeking creation of green space in 147 acres of land lying vacant and marked for industrial development.
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